Green summer skirt

As real summer finally arrived in Aachen too, I went through my wardrobe to see what kind of outfits do I have to wear on those rear hot days and what I discovered is that I have only one long summer skirt. I bought that one about ten years ago in a second hand shop when I was a student and I still love it and wear it with joy. So I thought why not make an other one in a different color? I even bought the same kind of linen fabric to make the skirt and guess which color I chose? Green of course, I love green!

But this time I choose a very bright green because this is going to be a summer skirt and should be bright! Right?

I just laid out the skirt on the fabric and cut around it, I thought it should be fine but it wasn’t…

It wasn’t because I forgot toconsider the direction of the grain and the skirt turned out to be too tight. I almost gave up but then I decided to cut the back side in the middle and make it wider. I’m so glad I did! Very amateur mistake, I must admit but after all it turned out just fine.

To the waist I added an elastic band and a pull string-just like the original skirt. They make the skirt really comfortable.

And the ruffles on the bottom? Aren’t they just lovely? I think they make the skirt look rather elegant, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to wear this summer skirt! Only the weather had turned quiet cold here since I finished the skirt but I do not worry. I hope I will be able to wear it at least ten years long, just like the original one! Lucky me, I have a second amazing long skirts for the summer and it really didn’t take much time to sew it! 🙂

A few smaller projects

In the last couple of weeks I worked on a few smaller projects and I thought I would share them with you in this post.

A grandmother who lives in Aachen and was visiting her son and his family in Hungary asked me if I could make a bed cover for his grand son. It was supposed to cover one side of the bed, hanged on the railing to protect the little one from blast while he is asleep. It was also requested that I use Hungarian hand dyed blue print fabric but other then that no more was specified in terms of pattern or colors or really anything at all. This is what I came up with:

I loved this project because I always enjoy working with blue prints and it has been a while since I last made a quilt.

My other project was to make new (and water proof) bibs for my little one because he loves to eat soup but his older (and handed down) bibs are kind of worn out and they don’t protect his cloths anymore as well as they should. I also made the bibs larger, so they will cover his lap, too and I added a plastic foil to the back side to really protect his T-Shirts from anything he will spill. We already use these and so far so good!

The third project I want to show you is a case for tampons and panty liners. I searched for a pattern or for a tutorial but haven’t found any that I could use. What I did find was a few good ideas that I combined in one. My favorite part is the loop: I can hang this case on door knobs and don’t have to worry about where will I put it down while I use it. What do you think?

This is it for today. I hope you enjoyed it! Next week I’ll be back with my fantastic new green skirt! Until then enjoy this beautiful summer weather and tell me about your latest mini-project!

Green Summer Tunic

As you may have noticed my last post came out about a month ago which does not mean that I gave up sewing! Oh, no! Only I haven’t really been in the mood for writing. I don’t know what it is with me because I love sewing so much and I am always busy working on at least a couple of projects. There are a few distractions in my life right now and they make it hard to concentrate on the this blog. Anyway, I am proud to present a beautiful green summer tunic to you that I made!

For this dress I used the pattern which came in my stitching Santa parcel: From The Craft Network (The Eva Collection) CNS03. Thanks again, Ali (blogger from the Thimberlina) for this present! (It’s the blue one in the middle:)

I chose the short sleeve version and bought a beautiful green and black jersey fabric. I was really scared because my last attempt to make a jersey dress gave me a lot of head ache but this time I bought new needles and everything went smoothly.

Except for one thing: the dress didn’t fit me even though I made some adjustments to the pattern after measuring myself. This is something that I need to practice more: adjusting a pattern because I am clearly not a confection size. Especially not after giving birth to my kids… Usually I need pants and skirts in size 38 but my upper body is only size 34/36. I wonder if there is anybody who fits perfectly to the confection sizes? Or we need to shape ourselves nowadays to the clothes we can buy? Thank God that I found sewing!
So this is how the dress hang on me after finishing it:

It was awful but I didn’t give up just yet. Instead I turned it inside out and pinned where it needed altering. I took in quiet some on the side seam and a bit under the bust.

I also added a ribbon and two loops on the sides to keep that from sliding down.

The side openings and hems looks perfect this time which makes me very happy! I made some progress in jersey sewing!

Unfortunately I deleted somehow most of the pictures that were taken of me (by a dear friend, thanks again, Gabi!) but luckily I still got the best one:

I made this dress in the hope we can make it to Barcelona with my Husband this summer. We’ll celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and we would like to leave the kids at my Parents’ and have a short getaway on our own. Let’s cross the fingers and hope that no one will get sick and our trip will not get cancelled! Especially because this dress deserves to be worn in Barcelona! Don’t you agree?

A New Chapter In My Life

I am happy to tell you that I had my first teaching experience as a sewist and it was great! But let me start from the beginning!

With two other Hungarian mothers we started a crafting group for kids. It is very new on the horizon, we only had three lessons so far but it is going very well! Our leader is also an artist: she is a great painter and she had this idea to create a group where we get together every week in order to teach our kids new skills or a crafting technique meanwhile they also practice their mother tongue. After a couple of months of preparation we started three weeks ago and we gathered eleven kids right away! We (the three mothers) take turns in teaching the kids: first was our leader responsible for the lesson, then I was up and I choose to start teaching the kids very basic sewing!
We start our lessons each week with a fairy tale related to what we are going to create. My idea was to sew a cloud pillow from felt, so I looked up a native American story about a monster who ate all the clouds and was defeated by a brave young boy. Finally the rain came, he saved his people and they weren’t starving anymore.
I had to figure out how this project was going to work for various ages because in our group the kids are from age 2 to 11 years old. It is a huge difference, right? I stitched the face of each cloud in advanced. For the little ones I cut out the shape and punched holes into the fabric for the needle to go through. The older kids had to cut out the pattern by themselves. Some of them were already good with the scissors but not old enough to handle a real needle so their fabric was punched as well and they continued like the little kids.


I even made them “kid friendly needles” from pipe cleaners. They were a big hit which is no wonder because they are fluffy, colorful and easier to work with for those little fingers!

But the kids age 5+ all got a bigger sized needle and they sewed along the edge very nicely. We helped them by marking the fabric where the needle should go through next.

Fifteen kids attended my lesson which is a lot but thank God the parents were there to help their kids. The kids were amazing and they all finished in the 50 Minutes we got! I was very proud of them!

I enjoyed teaching the kids so much that I can’t wait until the next lesson! I already know what the next project will be! Stay tuned! 😉

PS: Finally I got to use the beautiful zipper pouch from my Stitching Santa and the needle holder! Have you noticed them? 😉

Easter Projects 2017

I had to start the Easter projects of this year as early as February because of an Easter market where these beauties presented were. This Easter market took place three weeks ago at the Hungarian Club in Aachen and this was the first time we organized it. The four of us shared a very long table where we all presented our creations but beside that visitors had the opportunity to try various Easter egg decorating technique.

I have never had a table before at an Easter market, so I had to come up with new ideas what to create and sell. My first idea was to sew little bags with some festive applique on front because every child needs a good bag for Easter egg hunt, right?

Last year as I attended my Christmas craft fair I watched the lady at the table next to mine: she created very unique post cards and some of the cards were made to give money. She sold lots of those because novadays almost all grandparents give money as Christmas presents to the grandchildren. This gave me the idea to sew egg shaped pockets: You can just slide some money into it and it is a lovely present, way better then just handing the money over.

I also found a great idea in the sewingmagazine I received from Ali in the stitching Santa parcel: Bunny loveys! They turned out so cute! I had to give one of them to my brother’s five month old daughter! She grabbed it and hugged it right away!

The last thing I sewed especially for this occasion were a couple of notebook covers and one binder cover.

I made a few crazy patch just to have fun in the process and tried a new technique while sewing the leaf shape. I’ve never made curved seams before but this project turned out just fine and I was really proud of my work.

I also added pockets to all the notbeook covers and treid to use as much Hungarian blue print fabric as possible. Have you noticed it?

This was my craftcollection at this tiny market. We had lots of fun preparing for it and doing it. Friends came by, kids and even adults decorated eggs, it was simply joyful.

Sorry for not posting about it earlier but finally we are visitingfamily right now and after waiting for this for soo long (8months!) I had little time to post, instead I try to make the most of this short visit with the kids. I’ll be back with more next week, until then: Have a good one!

Laptop Bag

Let me start the story of this project at the very beginning: My Husband takes his laptop almost every day with him to work but unfortunately his old laptop bag was slowly giving up life, especially its zipper was in bad condition. So he asked after my successful backpack project if I could sew him a bag for his laptop. I really wasn’t sure but after some head scratching I told him: sure, no problem! To be completely honest I had no idea how am I going to solve this problem because I’ve never done anything like it before. This was sometime last year, maybe in summer? I don’t even remember when exactly. Then nothing happened for weeks because I wasn’t going to pick the fabric alone and with his long working hours there wasn’t much time for us to go fabric shopping. Until one day there happened to be a Dutch fabric market in our town. My Husband spotted the poster of this event and we went all together on the weekend and bought two fabrics for this project.
But then again, I still had no idea how to start it, so we measured his laptop and made a sketch together with all the small details my Husband requested.
Once again I tossed the whole project aside because there were so many things that seemed to be more important and I thought this could wait. I promised my Husband it’ll be done by his birthday by the end of October… then by Christmas… then I didn’t promise anything because I clearly wasn’t sure when it’ll be done. By January I was very ashamed of the whole thing and at last I started working on it! Finally! I bought a nice matching gray fabric for the inner linen, D-rings, bottom-buttons (sorry, don’t know the proper name of it, if you do, please let me know) and I ordered the moving buckle for the straps.

Once I figured out the way how this project should come to life it didn’t take more than a couple of days to finish it. This long over due present was given to my Husband sometime in February and he loves it.

He says he appreciates it every single day because this laptop bag has everything from his wish list and is working well for him. Yeay! I am so happy that it turned out so well. It did take a very long time to come to live but after all it was all worth it!

The sliding buckle makes the strap adjustable and with the shoulder pad it is also very comfortable.

There is a separate and very cozy (made with batting) pocket for the laptop itself. The pocket has a strap with velcro on the top for more security and three pen pockets. On the opposite side, there is a larger pocket for valet etc.

The outer side of that pocket is decorated with a “Rolling Goat” which was also a special request from my Husband. It has a long story and goes back to his high school years. I think this is what makes the bag so personal for him.

The top of the bag closes with velcro and is sprayed on with waterproofing spray, this way the laptop is safe even on rainy days (from which we have a lot here in Aachen).

One more small addition was a hook for the keys on the inside. It was my idea to add and it works well with the other features.

This project was very scary for me at the beginning but I am proud of myself. Yes, it took an impossibly long time to figure out a way I can constract the bag but finally I finished it!
What do you think? Do you have something that you created and is used every day?

Carnival Costumes

As the new year begins I have to start thinking about the kids’ carnival costumes. This has been like this ever since our oldest son started kindergarten which was three four carnivals ago (was it really four years ago? I can’t believe how time flies!). Some of you might remember his first costume: the frog. He had a stuffed frog back then (he still has it but the dragon took its first place about a year ago…); he started in the Frog Group in the kindergarten and in general, he was crazy about frogs. It was an easy choice for the costume.

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Then came the “firefighter phase” which still comes back from time to time. It was again quiet obvious what costume I had to make that year.

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Last year was the year of the knight costume. What I love about creating his costumes that he still plays with them (at least with those that still fit). He enjoys dressing up very much and he has a wonderful imagination.

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This year was a bit difficult in terms of decision making. Our oldest is caught up in the Star Wars world thanks to the other kids from his kindergarten group (and his father). He has not seen the movie(s) and if it’s up to me he will not watch it for a couple of more years. We are very strict about television watching: our kids are allowed to watch only ten minutes a day and 30 minutes if they are ill and have to stay at home. Anyway my son wanted to be Darth Vader but we said no. I offered him an astronaut costume as a compromise and he gladly accepted it.

Then I only had to create it. To be honest I wasn’t very thrilled about the idea to spend so much time with a costume and I checked out a couple of stores in the city center but once again I faced the same problem: all the costumes are made from polyester which my son is sensitive to. Not to even mention that in his size a full costume would have cost about 38-40 Euros…

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Finally I faced my newest challenge and started working. First I made the helm using a balloon as a base, old news paper and wall paper glue. It took five layers to make it sturdy enough. Then I cut the hole for the face and painted it.

Next I sewed the pants and finally the top. But I started with a store bought T-Shirt: I cut it up in the middle and added some velcro and a belt to the sides. I put a Hungarian flag on one sleeve and a very high collar (also with velcro). My son wanted to have white booths as well but instead I gave him my white socks and he loved them because then he was allowed to be in socks in the kindergarten for a whole day!

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One day before carnival a decision was made: let’s have rockets too! I wanted to just duct tape two bottles together and attach it to some strings but we ran out of tape. Of course something like this happens at the last minute. I had to came up with an other solution because he was standing beside me and waiting for his rockets to put on. You can imagine how excited he was the night before carnival! I couldn’t let him down! So I went through my stash and found a piece of fabric from last years knight costume: I taped the bottles with regular tape together, added shoulder straps from an old belt, then I covered the whole thing with that fabric and hand stitched it. The flames were made from paper- that was the easy part.

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My oldest son is very happy with his costume although the helmet will give up soon. But at least I made the costume itself one size bigger hoping that he can play dress up for a few more months.

But the story does not end here because our little one joined kindergarten this school year as well and he needed a costume too! Luckily it was also an easy choice because he goes to the mice group and he is crazy about them. So my Husband decided and I made the Mickey Mouse costume!

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For that I used an existing pair of black leggings. I bought a black and a red T-Shirt and used their fabric to make a smaller T-Shirt (because it is impossible to find a plane black T-Shirt in this small size!) and for the red shorts. I sewed two felt ears onto a cheap black hat and a felt tail onto the shorts. This costume was done quiet quickly and again, our little one loves it! Although he is just two years old and can only say “Micka Mouse” he got the idea and was very happy to wear the costume!

And for me it was a whole lot easier then his dragon costume last year! Do you remember it?

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Fortunately I had no time to sew a costume for myself and I came up with a better idea. I asked a friend if she could lend me her saree because she is from India and has many wonderful sarees. She was very kind and gave me this amazing dress:

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She also brought the matching accessories with her and gave me instructions how to put on this red beauty. It has been a dream for me for years to try on an original Indian saree and last week this dream has come true. Unfortunately the kids got sick (again) and we couldn’t make it to the party where we were invited to but I decided to have fun anyway so we put on our costumes with the kids and had a party at home.
What was your favorite carnival/Halloween costume so far? Mine definitely is this one. I might have to borrow it next year again!

Teaching My Kid to Sew

My five-year-old son started to learn sewing and I am very happy about it! He is always interested in his father’s job what I can understand: he works in a lab where he sometimes takes our son to and they check out cool stuff under the microscope. What little boy wouldn’t love that, right? I can totally understand his enthusiasm and this is why I was really happy when he asked if he could try out my sewing machine. I have something cool, too! But before I let him try that out I encouraged him to try sewing by hand.

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He did not love it as much because the progress is slow but he finished a few projects and I am extremely proud of him! When he finishes something by hand I let him on the sewing machine as a reward. His first project was the heart on the black paper where I punched the holes prior to his sewing: I made it very easy for him so he could have a quick successful project and would hopefully want an other one. And so he did. The next was the heart from felt: isn’t he adorable showing proudly his work?

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Then we tried some buttons: the button tree on the right bottom picture is actually our inspiration from the Internet but he made a very similar one. I shipped it to his great grandma for Christmas and forgot to take a picture but you get the idea. After that he made a “maze” with the sewing machine. He really enjoyed that particular project. I put a bucket upside down under the sewing desk and put the pedal on top of that because his legs aren’t long enough to reach the floor if he is sitting on the chair properly. It was fun for both of us. But also difficult for me because I needed to remind myself that his work doesn’t have to be perfect, he just needs to have fun right now. It was so difficult to keep my hands away and not to correct every little mistake he made. But I think he is a quick learner and he still shows interest which is great!

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Our current project is a sleeping bag for his dragon. My son sleeps with a stuffed dragon and he always tucks it into his own sleeping bag, right over his chest which is getting uncomfortable for him. Although the dragon is my son’s best buddy he certainly needs his own sleeping bag. We started the project by machine sewing and it went really well and my son enjoyed the fact that it went so quickly! But now I told him to hand stitch the sides which slowed the project down very much. When he is in the mood (not very often), he says he would do 5 stitches then he puts it away again. Progress is slow but we surely will get to the end eventually.
The funny thing is that now he thinks that I have some kind of superpower and tells me to make him a REAL astronaut suit or just simply sew him “furniture for his aircraft” what he is going to build. I told him that I’ll do that when the aircraft is ready… 😀 Sewing IS a superpower!

Do you remember what was your first sewing project or what did you teach to your little one?

Infinity Scarf and Hat

My brother celebrated his birthday about two weeks ago which is very close to Christmas and we tend to skip giving him any present because of that. I know, it’s very sad so last year I decided to surprise him a with something he would really like and I made him the “Bike Clock”. Some of you might remember it but if not check out my post about it here! My brother loves bicycles and biking so anything related to that is usually a good present for him.

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This year I had the idea to sew something for him, so I visited my favorit fabric shop but didn’t find any bicycle fabric. This made me a bit disappointed and sad because I usually find there what I need and I bearly have time to visit other fabric stores. I almost gave up but then the other day I happend to have to go to the other side of town and I was able to check out one of the other stores. Luckily I found a great bicycle fabric there! The lady in the store recommanded to sew an infinity scarf which I did not think of but I thought it was a great idea. So I looked up how could I sew one and I also made a matching hat to go with it. For the back side I used left over fleece (from this project) and voila! In a coulpe of hours my brother’s present was done and ready for shipping.

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I made several pictures of myself wearing the set since nobody else could be my model. The hat was made in a bigger size then my own head size so please, excuse that on the pics.

dsc_4490My brother received his present last week and according to my mother who was there with him, he was really happy and loved them both! And they also fit so I am happy, too!

Stitching Santa 2016

Over a year ago I discovered Sheila’s fantastic blog called Sewchet. I’ve been following her creative activity ever since. She came up with this great idea: a Secret Santa gift swap for creative bloggers. Unfortunately in the first year it was too late for me to sign up but in 2016 I was really careful not to miss out! And I am so glad that I did sign up!
I couldn’t wait to find out to whom I will be making presents and as soon as I received Sheila’s email with Anne’s name, I checked out her blog right away and I started to think about present ideas. A couple of days later I was already at my sewing desk making the presents.
Anne lives in Australia. She is fascinated by nature and creates very unique and wonderful paintings and drawings. She is crazy about feathers which I could understand after seeing her art work.
stitching-santaMy main present was this fabric basket for her. I came up with this idea because I had to ship her parcel from Germany to Australia, so I didn’t want it to weigh too much. Other then that I thought feathers are very delicate and to store them Anne could use this soft basket.

stitching-santa-001I stenciled a white mag for her with a pretty feather motif. I am most certainly not as good as Anne at drawing but hopefully she will appreciate my efforts! I took several trips to local fabric stores hoping to find something with feathers on them but instead I found these beautiful yellow-gray fabrics. The yellow one has kind of a feather motif and the grey one with the daisies are just lovely. I hope Anne thinks so too and she will be able to use them for a sewing project! I also made four coasters with festive pattern, and a key holder from felt. I was going for a feather look again but it might look a little more like leaves. They are also part of our beautiful nature, so I think Anne will like that too!

wp_20161206_21_48_58_proThe crochet angel was made by a friend of mine, I purchased it from her because Anne also knows how to crochet and I thought she’d appreciate something crochet-related. Unfortunately I don’t know how to crochet but who knows, I might give it a try some day! On the other hand the luggage tag was made by me. I read on her blog that Anne likes camping. In case she decide to maybe fly somewhere, this luggage tag could be handy! The hot choco spoon is a local delicacy and I love it, too! We live at the border between Germany and the Netherlands and this great idea comes from the dutch. It is a wooden spoon with chocolate at the end of it and you have to stir it into a big mug of hot milk! “Apfelstrudel” is actually a German cake made with apple and this spoon in particular tastes like this cake. So this one hot beverage represents a little bit where I send the presents from.

wp_20161206_22_10_35_proI packed them all up nicely in a small shoe box and shipped it very early to Anne because she is so far away and I didn’t want her to miss her parcel at Christmas. Hopefully it arrived in time and she enjoys the presents!

Now onto my parcel that I received from Ali. She is an always smiling woman from England who plays Golf in her free time and of course sews and does crocheting! Check out her blog here, you won’t be sorry!
When I signed up for this Secret Santa swap I asked Sheila to give my Stitching Santa my parents’ address in Hungary because we were going to spend the Holidays with them. So my parcel arrived there in time, a couple of days before Christmas, only we didn’t. My Husband had an emergency operation (on his elbow and he is all right now) before Christmas and our trip got cancelled. But our lovely friends who made it to Hungary for the Holidays were very kind and they brought all of our Christmas presents back to Germany for us on Friday (6th of January). Finally I was able to open my parcel! I waited so long! And I also kept myself away from Ali’s blog because she already posted about her lovely presents! That was the most difficult part but I made it!
Now let me show you all the great things I’ve received!
dsc_4499Ali wrote a message onto the bag for “Rita’s Mom” and instructed her to open it and put my presents under the tree. Only my Mom doesn’t understand a word in English! 😀 But my Husband put the parcel under the tree, I found it heartwarming anyway. And the boys were curious, as well!

dsc_4505A very nice card was attached to it with some help to crack the “wrapping paper code”. Which one was self made and which ones were bought. The whole family stood around me as I opened them one by one and I was so excited, as only a child can be!

dsc_4513I received a couple of sewing patterns: two for me and one for the boys. I will most definitely try all tree of them! I love the designs of the dresses and the boys just always need more pants! Plus the sewing pattern for the boys is in German which will be a good practice after my latest German lessons!
There was a little piece of fabric with animal prints, which is adorable! I don’t know yet for what but will use it for sure! Our little one is learning the names of the animals, so anything I make from it will be for him.
The reusable swatch kit was something that I’ve never seen in my life. It took me a minute or two to figure out what is it but then I thought what a practical thing that is!
The Sewing Magazine is also very thoughtful! I need a bit more time to read it through but my Husband and I spotted the same page at the first sight, so there is a future project hidden in there, too!
Eight pieces of flowery fabric, two embroidery threads, a heart shaped Christmas ornament which already hangs on the tree by the way and this is not all! Ali was very generous: She bought me a magnetic wrist band to catch the needles while sewing. It is a very cool gadget!
There was also a spool of a great tape saying “Make amazing things”. I love to use ribbons and tape, so probably this one will be put to use very soon.
Ali included a Yorkshire tea for me which was really good tasting! It’s already gone!
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She also made three things for me: a zipper pouch from a Liberty cotton fabric. As you probably know by now, I love the blue and white fabrics and this one even has bicycles and cars on it! One can never have enough zipper pouches; this one will find its place in my purse! As I opened this particular present, I noticed right away that Ali used her new overlock machine. Well done!
She hand stitched me a small needle keeper with embroidery scissors attached to it. I think it will be put to use when we travel between Hungary and Germany: those long hours in the car can get pretty boring when I could be also sewing!
I have a big collection of scarves. I like to color-match them to my outfit. If you remember my post about the dish towels, you might notice that I have a thing for color-harmony. Any I did not like the lila/violet scarf I had previously but Ali made a wonderful crochet scarf for me instead! It is a bit short but I don’t mind it. Look how beautiful it is:

dsc_4518The Tunisian crochet hook is the only one present I don’t know how to use because I have no clue how to crochet. Yet. The thought of it has already crossed my mind and I might give it a try this year!
When I was done opening all the presents, me, my sewing desk and even the heads of my kids were all covered in glitter thanks to the wrapping paper…

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I don’t know if we will ever get rid of that but I don’t care much. It keeps me reminding of Ali and the great love I received through her presents! Thank you so much!

Hair Accessories Organizer

As years go by we realize more and more that presents at Christmas aren’t as much important as we thought before. At least not among the adults in our families. We are usually just happy to see each other after spending months in a different country. But with kids it is still the same regarding presents and that is all right, they should have that magical moment when they open their presents and their eyes sparkle. I love that moment.
Unfortunately I am not a very good gift giver even though I usually put a lot of effort into finding the right present, I do not succeed many times. But I hope I will do so this year!
My Brother had two girls (7 and 5) and his third baby girl was born just about two weeks ago! I am most excited to see her and her big sisters in a couple of days! But because we are flying to Hungary this time I had to think very carefully about their presents. But thank to Pinterest (again) I came across a great idea: hair accessories organizer! I know that they own thousands of hair accessories and I saw before that they are usually stored in a bowl beside the sink in the bathroom, so this could work for them.
I made two prototype for the “Nikolausmarkt” to see what girly mothers and their daughters think of this idea and it was a big hit! Many grandmothers stepped to me and said: “Oh, what a great idea! The hair accessories of my daughter always got lost or she couldn’t find it in the box when she was a little girl!” And I sold both of the organizers. Yeah!

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So this week I made three more: one for a friend’s little girl and two for my big nieces.

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On top there are animal appliques just for decoration. Under that there is a band for all the hair clips, then come some loops for the hair bands and at the bottom a pocket for the small elastic bands.

hajcsatt-tartokI also added a little piece of wire (pipe cleaners) to the top, so the organizers will hang nicely on the wall. I think the girls will like these, especially because they are animal lovers.
If you are searching for a last minute present idea for the little girl in your family, this could be it. It doesn’t take more than an hour to sew it. Even less if you make it without an applique.
With this project I would like to wish all of you a very blessed Christmas! Thank you for reading my posts this year, too, it means a lot to me! I hope some of you may even got inspired by my creations. I will take a little break now from blogging, recharge my batteries and enjoy the Holidays with my family! See you guys again next year! Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all of you!

Nativity Banner

I was searching for alternative ideas to Christmas cribs and I came across a paper nativity banner somewhere. I liked the idea but I wanted to change the design of it and of course put it on fabric instead of paper. This is what I came up with at the end:

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For the triangle flags I used a beautiful striped fabric which I got on sale a very long time ago but this was only the second time I used a little bit from it. I think it was a good choice because the banner looks great with the green ribbon.

I sewed along the edges with a 1cm seam allowance then I cut off a little bit from the fabric with my zigzag scissors. Take a closer look here:

bannerI drew the silhouettes myself using textil/fabric markers, then pressed it. It is really a quick and great project if you have a template to make it! And today is your lucky day because I made the template for you! You just need to download it from here, print it, cut out and trace the drawings. Easy, right?

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I hope that some of you will try it and if so, please, let me know how it went!

My First Jersey Dress

So many great things are happening right now in my life and it seems to be more difficult than before to find the time to share these things with you. But here I am now and I’ll do my best to catch up a little bit.
First of all my third nice was born last week and she is beautiful and healthy! I can’t wait to see her at Christmas!
The second best news is that this year I was able to join sewchat‘s Stitching Santa: it is a Secret Santa game for bloggers who are interested in sewing or crocheting. Sewchet created this great project a couple of years ago but this is the first time for me to be part of it. We had to sign up in October, then everybody got a blogger by email and we have to send a present for that person before Christmas. There are more details and rules, if you are interested (for next year), you can check it out here. I have been busy and my presents are almost finished but I can’t post about it until Christmas, so please, be patient and I’ll share my creations and my received presents as well after the holidays! Stay tuned!
I’m also taking German classes again which takes up almost all my weekdays (it’s from Monday to Friday) and most definitely all my energy. Not even counting the kids… Anyway, I have this time a great group of people in my class, I even made a couple of new friends and they just cheer me up all the time! One day a classmate of mine came in a wonderful dress. Do you know that feeling when you see someone on the street and you would just take their dress because it looks amazing, and you’d just run away with it? Well, this was like that. But instead that I asked her where did she buy it but of course her dress is like ten years old and she couldn’t remember. But then I asked if I could borrow the dress to trace it for a pattern and she said yes, of course!

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So this is what I did: traced the dress, made the pattern and then sewed it from jersey fabric. Luckily our sizes match, so I didn’t need to make adjustments.

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But this was the first time I made a dress from jersey and I found it very challenging. Previously I made a couple of T-Shirts for the boys from jersey but other than that I don’t have much experience with stretchy fabric. Sewchet gave me advice on this topic but somehow I couldn’t really bring my basic sewing machine to do the task. It kept skipping stitches even though (I think) I tried everything: re-threading the sewing machine, adjusting the tension, different stitches, cleaning the needle, changing the needle etc. Hemming the skirt made me crazy, I ripped my seams about five or six times, finally I gave up, cut it a bit shorter and added a bias tape to it. That finally worked.

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I don’t know what did I wrong or just my sewing machine is getting older but I’m quiet scared to make an other jersey project that requires hemming. But at last the dress is done, it fits and I am happy that I have a winter dress. As you can see I made the sleeves full length, so I can wear it without a cardigan.

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I also love its green colors. I always wanted to have a green dress (or many more) to reflect my eye color and finally this dream came true! Thank you, my dear Friend! 😉

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Nikolausmarkt

About ten days ago I heard the phone ringing when I came home and was about to open the door, so I hurried up and picked it up as quickly as I could. I am very glad that I did because that call was from a local hospital where they are organizing a huge craft fair every year. I signed up early this year but I didn’t get in. Two weeks before the craft fair begins they called to ask me if I still wanted to go because someone changed his mind and one place is available again! Oh, yes of course!
This also meant that I will have to create as many things in that two weeks of time as possible. I went down to the basement and dug up lots of left over stuff from previous markets but I needed a few more small items.
This is what I have made so far:
Tea bag wallets. Tutorial from here.

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And I also sewed four reusable and environmentally friendly bags for those precious presents.

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Some of you might remember that I made wine bottle bags in the previous years. They were selling pretty well, so I made a few more.

karacsonyi-cuccok4-001I am also working on a “nativity banner” but it is unfortunately far from being ready. I will hopefully be able to finish it until Friday though.
Finally I would like to invite all of you who happen to be near Aachen on the weekend! Please, come and visit me at the Nikolausmarkt in Aachen-Burtscheid! I would love to meet with you and get to know you! The craft fair takes place in the Marienhospital, from Friday to Sunday. If you are interested in this even, feel free to ask me or check out the official flyer below!
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Nativity Applique Pictures

The last couple of weeks were really busy for us because we had to figure out which school our kid should go to next year. If you’ve been there then you know it is not an easy process, to me the emotional part is the most difficult. Anyway, we visited the schools nearby and made our decision. Now we wait until May when they let us know if he got in. Until then it’s time for me to get back to sewing and blogging! Yeay!
I wanted to try out a new project for Christmas and since I was hoping to get into a local Christmas market, I started as early as July. But the answer came and I didn’t get in and for weeks I stopped working on my nativity pictures. But a couple of weeks ago I thought I would finish them anyway and maybe give them as presents for Christmas and share the work-process with you because it was awesome!

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So I came up with the idea of sewing nativity themed pictures for Christmas using applique methods. I tried out a few design, some were printed from the internet, but for the most part I drew the designs myself. The first pieces aren’t as fabulous as the last ones but I still find them lovely.

falikepek1-003I bought lots of picture frames on flea markets, traced the picture size onto an other piece of paper, drew the design, cut it into little puzzle pieces and used those sometimes tiny pieces as my template for the applique.

falikepek1Then I ironed those applique puzzle pieces onto a background fabric and started sewing them with a zigzag stitch. When a picture was done, I pressed it again and taped onto a piece of white paper (cut to the size of the picture frame). And voila!

falikepek1-001When I made these three pictures I wanted to create a design that could be duplicated, so for the next four frame I used the same template:

falikepek1-002I wanted to have a stained glass effect on these, so I used only black thread to sew them. I think I was successful in this attempt. If you want to make a picture like mine, you can download my template here. Print it in size A/4 and you get yourself a template for a picture frame of size 18x24cm! (7×9,5 in)
Print the template twice: cut one up and use the little pieces to trace your applique! The other one will be used as a template that you should put underneath the backdrop fabric: it will help you place the little pieces when you iron them onto the backdrop fabric:

dsc_4142I cheated a little when i cut out the puzzle pieces because I rather cut bigger ones where it was possible and then added an extra seam to make it look like more pieces:

dsc_4144And the same trick already marked on the other fabric:

dsc_4284This is how it should look before starting to sew:

dsc_4145When you are sewing along the puzzle edges, make sure to cover both fabrics with your zigzag stitch! The sewing itself actually didn’t take longer then an hour, the preparing part was probably an other hour or maybe a little more. It shouldn’t take longer since you can just download the pattern and you don’t need to design it!
I think my family members will be very happy when they open these presents (and no, my parents and granny doesn’t read my blog, so I am not ruining the surprise)!
And if you make a picture like this using my template, please, let me know in a comment below! I’m looking forward seeing your creations!

Cat Skirt

My nice had recently her 5th birthday and even though they live in an other country, I thought that she would appreciate a little present from us. Sadly I don’t know her very well because they live so far but then I thought a little girl could never resist a new skirt! She also likes animals, so let’s combine this two information! This is how I came up with the idea of the “cat skirt”, as I call it.

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I found just enough blue fabric for the skirt in my stash, a deep green stretchy fabric for the waist and a matching green cotton fabric for the cat-ears and for the bottom of the skirt. I didn’t even have to get out of the house and I had everything at hand what I needed. Isn’t that just great?
macskaszoknyaFirst I sewed on the green bottom and a black rick rack which will match perfectly with the eyes and noses of the cats.

dsc_4193The next step was to make the two pockets: hand-stitching the mouth, nose and the button-eyes.

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Then I added the ears by using applique technique, and only then the cat-pockets. After that I sewed together the whole skirt and attached the waist.

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The final step was to hand stitch the whiskers which was tricky and of course I sewed the pocket to the skirt once while making the whiskers. But I kept my calm and reached for the seam rippers…

dsc_4190I cross my fingers and hope that the skirt will actually fit her and she will like it! I made this skirt with so much love and I think it turned out very cute.

Kitchen Towels

Ever since we have our own house hold, I was never satisfied with the quality of my kitchen towels because they were never enough absorbing. I actually have only one towel which I liked. I was always on a hunt for good towels but when I found a good quality towel it usually costs a lot. So instead of buying a highly priced towel, once again, I decided to make my own kitchen towels.
I kind of have a wired system for my kitchen towels: I always have three towels in use. One is for hand drying, one is for drying clean dishes (this is what I needed to sew) and one is  for everything else (wiping up stains from the kitchen counters, using them as a bib for the kids  etc.) . And the towels should match in color, too! I realize now that I might have OCD issues…

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Anyway, I went to our local fabric store and asked for help because I wasn’t able to choose a good absorbent fabric alone. The lady who works in the store always gave me good advice, so I trust her when it comes to fabric or sewing related problems. I bought the fabric she recommended, took it home, washed it, then sewed four kitchen towels from it.

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I wanted to try out a new thing, that I have never done before: it’s called “prairie points”. It’s a popular technique for finishing quilt edges and they look very lovely but since I’ve never done it before, I wanted to try it first on a smaller project. And it was a lot easier then I guessed. I just followed this great tutorial and the towel turned out very lovely, look!

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When I finished this project, I was very happy because my kitchen towel sets were finally complete but to be honest, this fabric is not at all more absorbent then the others I had. Quiet disappointing but I guess, this happens to all of us. We try our best to make our projects perfect but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Now I spent 12 € on fabric and my time on a project that looks amazing but doesn’t bring the quality I was hoping for.
Has this happened to any of you before that you only realized that your work is not good enough when you were done with it?

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Anyway, we can still use these towels in the household but I will keep hunting for the perfect kitchen towels until I find them. And I am willing to pay the pries for it…

New PJs

There were a few reasons why I decided to make new PJs for my Husband and myself. For example I just throw one of his PJ pant into the garbage because they were totally worn out and he had only one pair left. The other reason was that we celebrated our wedding anniversary this month: only the 9th but I still wanted to make something for us at last, not always for the kids. The third and last reason was that I joined The Monthly Stitch and the challenge for September was called “nighty night”. When I read this finally came to the decision to make matching PJs for us.

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When I visited our local fabric store, I found this incredible blue fabric which was perfect for this project. The bonus was when I paid, the cashier told me it was made not far from Aachen: there is a fabric manufacture called Westfalenstoffe in Münster. I heard briefly about them in the past but I only checked out their website now and they have amazing stuff!
For the pattern I just traced our existing PJs and sketched the pattern myself, it wasn’t really a complicated project.
pizsamanadragok-002My Husband requested one side pocket but I added an extra back pocket just for the splash of the color. I also ended up making the waist from the same red fabric, I think the pants look really fun and my Husband is happy with them.

pizsamanadragok-001My pants have a bit different style: shorter legs, trim abound the bottom edges from the red fabric.
pizsamanadragokI also added four pockets (2 side and 2 back pocket) and a heart shaped applique on front. My Son Nr.1. found the heart applique so nice, that now he wants to have one on his PJs. Isn’t he adorable?
Anyway, we both love our new PJs and I decided that the next time we need new ones, I will most definitely sew them as well. Not just because it was so much fun and I loved to personalize them, but also because they cost about the same as the store-bought PJs. So why not make them unique?

Firetruck Themed Birthdayparty

As I promised last week I’m  back with more details on our son’s firetruck themed birthday party. His birthday celebration went on almost one week long because it was celebrated once in the kindergarten, once in our Hungarian play group and finally once at home where he invited his kindergarten friends. Let me tell you that this was the very first time our child had his own party because previously we either celebrated with relatives or we just took him to the zoo.
I heard from a friend that she lets her kid invite as many friends as how old her kid turns to. For example my son turned five, so we let him invite five friends, although he ended up only with four. If he wants to invite less friends, then it is even better for us, parents! But in general I find this rule  great!
I found a couple of nice looking invitations online and I let our son choose the one he liked. This is what we ended up with:

wp_20160828_22_27_44_proI made them myself, it took me a couple of evenings, even though I needed only four pieces. But this is something one can do while watching tv, so I didn’t mind.

tuzoltos-001I also made four party favors bag: sewed the bags from a simple beige cotton fabric and added a firetruck and the kids’ name with a fabric marker. I thought with the names on it they would be special for the kids.

dsc_3899I also painted a card board for a photo booth and most of the kids loved it (not everybody but it was fine by me). I used acrylic paint and an old box for this project. It took me about 3-4 hours to complete it but it was worth it. Even a few parent wanted to have a picture just for fun!

Here is one more picture of the photo stand in action:

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dsc_4082When the kids were arriving to the party, I sat them down to color firetruck related coloring pages. They had so much fun doing this, that they actually colored for a half an hour! Then we made our own exhibition of their pictures!

tuzoltosI cut out a few flames and taped them by the doors for decoration.

dsc_3931I even prepared a couple of games for the boys, so the party wouldn’t get too crazy and they ‘d have things to do. One of the games was target shooting with water guns in the bathroom. Once again, the flames were cut out of paper, three of them were glued together then hot glued onto a cup. I put a baby bathtub upside down in the big bathtub and built the “fire tower” on top of that. Then I closed the bathroom with “safety zone bands” (or whatever they are called), put a bowl of water and a couple of water guns by the door and the game was set up.

dsc_4049They absolutely loved this game! Each of the kids could shoot the flames once (then we rebuilt the flame-tower) and at the end all of them at once! Unfortunately our bathroom is very small, so I wasn’t able to take good picture of the kids while playing. But believe me, this game was a huge success!

dsc_4087The other big hit was the fire hose/helmet cake. Once again I let our son choose his favorite cake design from a couple of options and then a talented friend of ours made the cake for us. I think she did a great job, don’t you agree?
Although the preparation for this party took a lot of effort and time, I really enjoyed the process and I would definitely do it again. Probably I will have to do that anyway since the kids are still little and they have many birthdays to come.

Firetruck Birthday T-Shirt

My son turned five this week and as you already know by now he is crazy about fireman and firetrucks and all that. On Sunday a local church organized a big party outdoors and they even got a firetruck for the kids (and everybody else) to check out, so we absolutely had to visit them. My son enjoyed this visit so much! He had questions and he learned a lot. Actually we did, too! The firemen were really nice and at the end of the day they even let a couple of kids try out one of the hose’ of the firetruck. And of course my son was one of the kids who had the chance! It was really cool!
This is how we started the one week long birthday celebration.

Some of you might remember that in the past years I made a few birthday T-Shirt for kids. If not, here are a couple of pictures as reminders for you:
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Well, this year I wanted to carry on this tradition and I had to make one with a firetruck. But this time instead of using applique I wanted to try out fabric paint. I printed out a firetruck and cut it out as a stencil. I used little pieces of tape, rolled each piece up and used it to fix my stencil onto the fabric.

DSC_3977Then I pulled out my fabric paint and realized that I only had pink paint instead of red. Well, I thought that this firetruck can not be pink, no way! What else can I do then? Then I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I bought textil/fabric markers, so I used those instead. Not ideal, I know, but it was a good alternative.

DSC_3980At least it was easy to use and there was no mess to clean up afterwards.

Polok-001After I finished it up, I had to iron it and then the project was done. To be honest I haven’t washed the T-Shirt yet but after ironing the ink shouldn’t fade, so I’m crossing my fingers.
My son really like the T-Shirt and he will be using it a lot, I think!
dsc_3909I liked that this project was very easy, even kids could do it and decorate their T-shirts or tote bags or whatever they’d like. No mess and it could be done in 15 minutes.
More firetruck related posts are coming next week! Stay tuned!

Cell Phone Case With Tutorial

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You guys probably remember that a couple of weeks ago we celebrated my birthday. As it happens I asked my Husband for a new cell phone as a present because I needed one and I just hate useless presents… Anyway I got one smart phone and I am still getting used to it. Unfortunately I am not very talented when it comes to gadgets but my Husband is and he usually helps me very patiently. So, thanks to him for that!
Funny thing though, when he gave me the box and I opened it, he said: “now you have to sew a nice case for it because I didn’t dare to buy one for you!” And those were my exact thoughts, too! 😀
Last weekend I searched for some inspiration and I found this iPhone case. It has everything what I desire: a button with a loop and a small pocket. But I didn’t like very much the fabric and I wanted to use some of my blue prints and perhaps to funk it up a little with a bright polka dot green fabric. It sounded crazy at first but then I found the matching fabrics in my stash and started right away!
So here are the steps:

Step nr 1: I prepared the pocket and the loops: one for the button and one for the buckle:

DSC_3897Step nr 2: I cut out the body of the phone case twice. (Since every phone varies in size, you’ll have to figure out the right size for your phone if you want to make a case like this.) Added interfacing on one. Cut the batting as well.
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Step nr 3: I folded up the bottom of the pocket and sewed onto one of the green fabrics right in the middle.

DSC_3901Step nr 4: I folded the pocket into the right position and pinned it down. I also pinned the loop for the button on and the loop with the buckle on.

Phone Case-001Step nr 5: Then I layered the other green fabric onto the whole thing (right sides facing each other!) and pinned all layers together. Pay attention when you do this, this is a little tricky!

DSC_3910Step nr 6: Sew around the edges with small seam allowance and leave a 3-4cm wide hole in your seam. This is where you’ll turn the whole thing inside out.

Phone Case-002I added an extra seam at the loops to secure them even more. Then I cut off the corners.

Step nr 7: Turn it over and with some spray fabric adhesive add the layer of batting. DSC_3916Step nr 8: Turn it inside out and very carefully poke the corners. Now press it and hand-stitch the hole.

DSC_3918It looks quiet good at this point and it’s almost done!
Step nr 9: Fold it in half and sew together the sides as close to the edge as possible. If you want you can even hand-stitch at this point. Maybe add some decorative stitching if you prefer.

Step nr 10: Add the button. I had some trouble of choosing the right button: these were my three options:

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After much consideration I choose the beige button although I was leaning towards the green button but then I didn’t like the fact that the color of the button and the fabric didn’t match perfectly. The withe one was just too big, so I landed on the beige button.

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I am pretty happy with my new cell phone and its case. I like how it turned out and I love the way I was able to use the traditional Hungarian blue print fabric again and it is not at all boring old “souveniery”. phone-case-003

I find the blue print quiet funky paired with the green polka dots. And it is also practical: there is room for the ear plugs in the pocket. What do you think?

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Pull String Backpack

My (almost) five years old son is totally crazy about firefighters. A couple of weeks ago one of his kindergarten friends invited him over for a play date but when I talked with his father, he proposed something very special for the kids: if it was ok with me, he would take the kids to a fire station on the play date. My answer was: “Can I come, too?” Of course he could take the kids and my son was really excited when he heard and was counting the days! (As it turns out the other dad used to be a paramedic at that fire station, that’s how he was able to arrange this for the kids.)
The kids went and my son is talking about it ever since. So you get the picture how crazy he is about firetrucks and all that.

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One week ago when we went to that fabric market, I also got him a great fabric with firetrucks print. And so far I made a pull string backpack for my son which was a very quick project: it only took my an hour to finish it, since I had everything at hand.

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The bag fits him perfectly and he loves it. He already tested it yesterday and no complaints.

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But I have a big piece (about 80cm) left from that fabric and don’t know yet what to do with it. If any of you have a suggestion, please let my know in a comment!

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What do think of this pull string backpack? I think it is perfect for the little one’s gym class or for swimming etc.

Jersey: an other milestone

During my sewing adventures I have tried out a couple of things but I stayed afraid of working with jersey. Until now because last weekend there was a huge fabric market in town and I was able to buy some lovely fabric including jersey with a boyish pattern.Check out what I got:DSC_3961The blue and green prints with ancores are yet a mystery because I don’t know what am I going to do with them but I just loved their color and I will let inspiration come to me whenever. The fabric with the firetruck will of course be a bag for my older son who is absolutely in love with firetrucks and firefighters. The floral prints are for me but again, I will have to wait for the inspiration. The stash on the right will eventually be a messenger bag for my Husband and the jersey in the middle was meant to be T-shirts for the boys.

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So I had to just suck it up, do the research and try it and after all, it did go better then I expected it would. I had some difficulties choosing the right stitch though but I figured it out.

DSC_3962Here are a couple of closer pictures of the sleeve and the neck line.

I know these T-shirts aren’t genial or something new on the horizon of dressmaking but it was a big step for me and I might just try an other jersey project because this one went so well!

 

Birthday Game

Hi Everyone!
Sorry for the quiet weeks on the blog, we took a long vacation back in Hungary which was really great although I had very little time to truly relax. Which is ok because after we got back home, our little boy has started the kindergarten and after a couple of weeks now he stays about five hours there every day and I can catch my breath now.

But before we went on vacation, my About page got renewed including a new picture of me. Did you notice?

I would also like to invite all of you to visit my Facebook page where I like to share picture of my creating process, sometimes an article or a video, or if you’d like we could just chat.
I am very grateful to all of my readers: those who have been following me for years and those who just started! You guys keep me motivated, especially your comments and likes! Yesterday evening I came up with an idea and since today is my birthday, I would like to thank you all with a little game! Yes, on my birthday you’ll receive a present! A few weeks back I went through my stash and sorted out a few fabrics that I will probably never use and I came across this really beautiful blue-white print which I purchased in IKEA a long time ago. It was a big piece but in a funny shape, so I cut it up into squares:

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To be exact, 17 big squares (20x20cm) and 29 small ones (5x5cm). It would probably make a lovely baby quilt. (Just an idea…)DSC_3022

If you would like to win these, all you have to do is to be a follower of this blog and comment below that you want to participate in the game and you’re in! If you want to, you can share this post but it is totally up to you. I just want to thank those who have been with me along this sewing adventure!
You can sign up during the weekend and I will do the drawing and announce the winner next Monday. Have a great weekend!

Hiking Backpack

Do you remember when a couple of weeks ago I showed you my son’s new backpack which I made from an old pair of jeans and a skirt? If not, here is a picture as a reminder:

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When my brother-in-law saw this backpack he liked it so much that he asked me if I could make him a similar one. My eyes went wild open because I’ve never even considered making backpacks for adults. They are so complicated and I only have a very basic sewing machine… but he had his 40th birthday coming up and since I had no idea what to give him as a present, I said yes. I thought I would figure it out somehow and I actually did.

It took me almost two months to gather everything for this project and to make it. My seam ripper was used a lot because of my mistakes and because my brother-in-law had so specific request that I had to be very precise.

HatizsakFor me the most difficult part was that first I had to make all the details like straps, pockets etc. and only then could I start assembling the whole backpack. I prefer it when I am able to see progress from right the beginning but this project taught me to be more patient. And at the end it was all worth it!

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Let me tell you a bit more of the requests made by my brother-in-law and the details of this bag. On the sides there are huge pockets for large water bottles and the camera lenses.

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On the front there is an other pocket for the hiking maps they use and elastic on the sides for the hiking stick or tripod they sometimes use for the camera. I also had to make the strap with the rings in it for the buckle.

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I was asked to make not just the shoulder straps but also side straps. For that I got the measurements from an existing backpack.

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I added the 8mm rings on top and a string to close the backpack. There is a pocket for a tablet in the inside of the backpack with the initial of my brother-in-law’s name. It was a surprise for him and he loves it! 🙂

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The backpack was made from 100% cotton fabrics, only the shoulder and side straps contain artificial materials.
I asked my brother-in-law to send me a couple of pictures of them using the backpack and here they are:

IMG_4030He says that he uses it not just for hiking but also every day to go to work and he loves it. I am very glad for that! And not just for that but according to him many people asked him where did he get the backpack because they also want to have one! I thought if more people would be interested I might make a pattern for the backpack. Would any of you be interested? If yes, please, leave me a comment below and I consider it! 😉

Hatizsak-005As I said, I only have a basic sewing machine and I was very surprised that with the right needle I was able to complete this project without any help even though there were two spots on top where I had to sew together six layers of fabric!

IMG_4034This backpack was a real challenge for me, I learned a lot from it and I am very proud of myself for completing it! Quiet a milestone in my sewing adventures!

 

 

Bread Bag

It seems like lately I’ve been making only bags because this time I would like to share the story of our “new” bread bag.
When we moved to the US for a couple of years we were not really satisfied with the quality of bread which we could buy in an avarage store so we searched for a local bakery in Detroit, called Avalon. The good new is that they are still in business and they make amazing breads! Only back then we were tight on budget and couldn’t afford to buy their bread on a daily basis. So my Husband started to bake bread at home. He found a great recipe which we used for months but unfortunately that delicious bread didn’t stay fresh very long.

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Then we moved to Germany which is the land of bakeries: you would probably find a bakery at every corner and the variety of bread is just amazing! But Germans do prefer whole wheat bread and it is sometimes difficult to find that (unhealthy) white bread what we got used to as kids. So after a couple of years searching for our favorite bread in the ocean of German bakeries we are now back to baking our own bread but this time my Husband requested a bread baking machine. It is awesome and we both love it!

DSC_3506After we found the way to bake that perfect bread with our new gadget, I thought it was time to make a proper bread bag but then I remembered that we already have one somewhere in the closet! And not just any kind of bread bag: it was made and used by my late Grandmother who passed away fifteen years ago. Which also means that this nice white bag was a bit outdated and in need of an upgrade but there was no way I would just replace it!

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I came up with a very simple design for which I choose a lovely Hungarian (hand dyed) blue print fabric (again) and a couple ribbons. A few hours later our old/new bread bag was ready to be used. I also added a new cotton string with the same blue print fabric at the end of it.

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I like very much how this small project turned out and now we can not just use it for our delicious bread but I do have one more thing to remember my Grandmother by.

DIY Sweater to Skirt Refashion

When I was pregnant with our second son I bought myself a very lovely and comfortable knit skirt. It was my very first knit skirt and I absolutely love it! And I am still able to wear it after the pregnancy which is a great advantage! Look, here I am wearing it with my belly:

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I feel like this was ages ago…
Anyway, what I want to say is that I like to wear knit skirts nowadays very much: they are comfortable and look always good!
The other thing about me is that I try to sort out my wardrobe on a regular basis, especially when I go shopping for new clothes, I try to get rid of about as much old clothes as much new ones come in. As I was doing that a couple of weeks ago, I came across a sweater which I bought about eight years ago when I lived in the US and it has a sentimental value to me because of that. Plus I love its colors and the stripes but unfortunately it was a bit too big for me even when I bought it.

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So I wanted to keep the sweater but there was really no rational reason for that. I thought I would give it to my sister (she would’ve loved it for sure!) but then I found a great idea somewhere on Pinterest. I could convert the sweater to a skirt! Why haven’t I think of that?

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So I did. It wasn’t a complicated project, I just cut off the sleeves and the top, added an elastic band to the waist and the skirt was done.

Outfits

I also made a neck warmer out of one sleeve by adding a button to it. And voila! I have a great outfit now which I already wore twice and I love it! What do you think? Do you have clothes that you don’t want to throw away for some reason but you are unable to actually wear it? Or have you made a similar makeover? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

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Plus, did you notice the good quality of the pictures this time? They were made by my (almost!) five year old son! I am so proud of him, he definitely got some talent!

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Kitchen Backsplash Makeover

When we moved into our new apartment about ten months ago I was shocked when the landlord said that the backslapsh in the kitchen is in acceptable condition and it doesn’t need to be replaced. In fact I was so much shocked that no word came out of my mouth and when a couple of minutes later I tried to argue with the guy, I already lost the battle.

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So we moved in but I decided on our first day that these tiles need some kind of a repair. First I tried to cover them with white adhesive but it wasn’t sturdy enough. After much consideration and a lot of research on the internet I decided that I will try painting the backsplash. It was unfortunately not a cheap solution but we were not allowed to replace the old tiles. Even if we were, the new kitchen cabinets were installed right away as we moved in and it wasn’t possible anymore.

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I had a couple of trips to local stores and finally decided to buy the primer, the paint, the brushes etc. But I was still so scared that I will screw up the whole project that all the supplies stayed in the wardrobe for a couple of months, until I had the courage one day and I finally started to clean the backsplash and the next day I continued and tried to fill up the little screw holes. I think the repairing of the holes could’ve been done better but again, this was a DIY job, I’m not a pro. At all.

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The third day the primer was up and there was no going back. I always painted late in the evening, when the kids were already in bed, so excuse the quality of the pictures.

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The forth day I painted the first layer, and the fifth day the second coat went on.

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I think the whole kitchen looks a LOT better then before but if I am being honest the result is far from perfection. When the painting was done, we finally were able to install a lamp above the sink and the light of it is so strong that it reveals all the mistakes on the surface. Of course, one can only see those if actually standing and cooking there (who is most of the time me) which is fine by me. I call it “rustic white”.

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So this is my backsplash makeover and after all I am satisfied with the end-result. I can most definitely live with this  kitchen for a couple more years. But if you ask me if I would do it again, my answer would be: “Um, not so sure…” I think it is a great temporary fix but in a more permanent home I would rather have perfect tiles on the wall.

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DUDERÖ Lamp Makeover

It was about six years ago when we first moved to Germany and we had to furnish our first apartment because here you only get the empty walls when you are renting. There are no light fixtures and in most cases you even have to bring your own kitchen cabinets and in some cases you have to install your own floors. The reason for this is that in most areas there are fewer apartments then potential tenants and it means the landlords dictate and create the conditions and if you disagree, they will easily find someone else instead of you.
My point is that at the beginning of our journey in Germany we had little money and we didn’t plan to stay here as long as we actually did, so we purchased a lot of cheap furnishing, including our DUDERÖ floor lamp from IKEA. I think the price was about ten euros and we kind of liked the design of it but unfortunately the lampshade was made out of paper and as kid Nr1. started to crawl it was game over for the lamp. However I did manage to save the top of the lampshade: I cut it shorter, added a blue lace to the bottom and used the lamp beside my old sewing desk. After some time this lampshade started to give up as well and I had to think about its future.

Duderö Fonott lampa

We liked the first lamp but there was no way I could re-create the original design and I didn’t want to either spend money on it or just throw it away. I don’t remember how exactly but I came up with the idea of weaving a basket-kind-of-lampshade from the branches of a willow tree.
When I was about eight years old I took a couple of weaving lessons but other then that I had no clue how to start this project. I looked up tutorial videos and the most important thing that I learned is that those branches must be wet otherwise they will brake during weaving. Ok, I could not order the basket willows that pros use, so I went with my kids and cut a handful branches from a willow tree near the kindergarten, went home and used them till they were still fresh. This was my first batch:

DSC_0138I used the two metal rings which came originally with the lampshade and then I just tried a few things and let the project lead me. I really had no clue what I was doing but it didn’t stop me. Even my Husband gave me doubtful looks which made me even more determined: “I must make something nice out of this!”

DSC_0139I started on top and then slowly moved down with the weaving.

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Yeah, at this point I also thought that this project was a complete disaster and if so, why should I give up? Why not try and make it a little further.

DSC_0161With some tape I attached the other ring to the stand: this is where the future lampshade should have its bottom.

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I weaved the side-willows to the bottom-ring and suddenly I started to have hope again! Look how cool it actually looked at this point:

DSC_0167And I already ran out of willow, so I had to take an other round at the tree. And an other, and an other…. But eventually the new lampshade was done and I am very proud of it!

DSC_0662Doesn’t it look awesome? Of course, you can tell it is made by an amateur but who cares? I love it. Even my Husband finds it great especially because it kind of looks like a bee hive and he is in love with bees.
The lamp did move with us and found its new place beside our hammock and blanket basket in the living room.

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Travel Bags For Your Underwear

A couple months ago we had a four-day-long trip in a national park South of Aachen. Because it was such a short trip, we only took a very large suitcase with us and I packed into that for the four of us. Besides that we took a couple of backpacks but the point is that all of our clothes were in that one suitcase. Yes, it was big enough  but the smaller items like panties and socks got lost all the time and I had to go through the whole suitcase to find a sock every single morning. It was a bit annoying and it made me thinking: how could I minimize the mess? This was when I came up with the idea of personalized bag for the underwear. Each of us should have one bag, maybe even with some kind of name tag on it and it would be a lot easier to find what we are looking for.
In a month or so we will be traveling again and I wanted to take action before that and yesterday the bags were finished! Let me show you what I came up with!

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With two boys and a Husband in the family you can probably guess which bag is mine. The largest! And not just because my name is on it but also because I’ve got bras and a few more delicate pieces to store in that travel bag.

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The name tags were made by cross stitching which is one of my favorite techniques. I learned cross stitching in elementary school and I love it ever since.

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I also added a soft cotton inner linen and a draw string to close the bags.

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We are now a little more prepared for our next trip and each time we travel we get better. It is stressful enough to travel with kids, let it be a long road trip or a flight, it doesn’t matter. Your nerves will be put to a test anyway and these little tricks might help you to survive.

Summer Outfit For The Boys

Just like last summer, we have the same problem with the boys’ wardrobe all over again: they’ve got jeans and shorts but somehow the weather is always somewhere in between… It was time for me to take action and sew at least one pair of light summer pants for them. Here are a couple of pictures of them:

DSC_3341These were the two similar fabrics that I bought for the boys months ago. I paired them up with a great brown fabric and used their existing pants as template.

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For the little one I did not add pockets but he got a cute bucket hat instead.

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On the other hand my older son got pockets but no new hat this year since the one from last year still fits his head.

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Aren’t they just cute?

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And here is one more picture. Summer, we are really ready now!

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My Happy Place

I thought I would show you my craft corner where all the magic happens. Are you curious?
When we last year moved to a slightly bigger apartment I was very happy because finally I was able to store all my sewing and craft supply in one place. Previously I had a huge bag in the bedroom, a couple of boxes in the kids’ room etc. But now I have a whole corner in the living room! I know it is still not a studio, not even a separate “office” or “craft room” but I am very pleased and it is truly my happy place! Come and have a look!

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This is all: a sewing table, a shelf and an other shelf which used to be the kitchen island in our previous kitchen. Now it functions as my fabric storage. I hand sewed the curtains when my sewing machine was broken. I think they are absolutely necessary because this craft corner is in the living room, so it has to stay organized and the curtains help me hide the mess I make…

DSC_3140I also have small boxes and drawers for buttons, zippers, velcro, needles etc. I love them, they are always at hand and I  can reach them from the sewing table.

DSC_3141I have a small garbage can on the right end of the table, little more hanging storage (originally planters but I found them more useful if I keep ribbons and other small sewing supplies in them). The info-board has two purposes: one is to hold all the important phone numbers visible at all times (like doctors, babysitter etc.), the other is to keep my ideas, lists, calendar.

I also have a ironing board stored behind our book case that I can set up any time I need it, there is enough space for it next to the couch.

DSC_3142A cutting board, the iron and a tray have their place on the “island”. I always store the fabrics and other little pieces, notes of the running project on the tray. But when the project is huge, it takes over the whole shelf and sometimes even the couch next to it…

DSC_3146I find the wall lamp absolutely necessary above the sewing desk because the windows are behind me when I am sewing but I love the fact that this lamp looks actually awesome. Great design!

 

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The little painting is a reproduction of a grandiose work of art in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA): The Nut Gatherers (1882) by William Adolphe Bouguereau. I used to go to that museum every week when we lived in Detroit and this was my all time favorite painting there. I can’t say why but I just love it. Maybe because it is so peaceful. Anyway, it makes my happy place just complete and perfect.

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Please, show me how your creative space looks like!

Wool skirt

The time has come and my little one will start the kindergarten in August which also means that I have to start searching for a job. In the spirit of the new beginning I decided to update my wardrobe a little bit because in the last five years I only wore jeans and casual outfits (except for some special occasions of course). I really needed at least a couple of nicer outfits for interviews and such, so I went shopping but I returned a little disappointed. I found a few pieces that I absolutely love but I wished there was something more for my taste and budget. Isn’t this always the case: the budget and taste never fits? Anyway, I decided to start making those desired clothes, at least try because as you know I have never taken sewing lessons of any kind and I have very little idea about tailoring and sewing clothes that actually fit!
Then I found this wonderful and elegant skirt on the Vogue’s website:

Martin_Grant_06_1366You can find the original picture here.
This was my inspiration for my skirt. I choose a slightly darker gray, wool fabric, looked up a few sewing instructions for similar skirts. I even added pockets and a belt. And this was the first time I used a zipper foot on my sewing machine. It came with the sewing machine when I bought it about six years ago but I had no clue what it was for. Can you believe it? The zipper turned out much better then I expected but there is still room for some improvement. The model (me) and the quality of the picture is unfortunately not as good as it is in Vogue but the skirt is pretty close, isn’t it?

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When I started this project it was still April and I thought I must be crazy to sew a wool skirt when summer is around the corner but when the skirt was actually finished, the temperature dropped to 5 Celsius degree and I didn’t feel so bad after all. And summer is never that great in Aachen and fall will eventually come, so no more worries about that!

DSC_3127Here is a closer picture of the bow. I absolutely love it, so cute!

DSC_3125I might sew a red belt, as well because I often wear red T-shirts, shoes and tops and they would go very well with this dark grey skirt, don’t you think?

DSC_3124This is my favorite picture: details of the pocket.
Well, I am pretty satisfied with the end-result of my first serious outfit. I know it is not a complicated pattern but I had to start somewhere, right?

DSC_3122Here is one more picture with a blue belt and top. Not so elegant but still lovely in my opinion. I will definitely try the red variation!

And I have to thank to my Husband for the pictures! What are you thought on this skirt? What was your first serious outfit project?

UPDATE: I did try out the skirt with red accessories and a red jacket and I loved it! I got carried away a little and tried a yellow version, as well. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in a comment! 😉

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Travel Binder for the Kids

My very old post about traveling with toddlers seems to be a big hit and it made me realize that it might be a good idea to share an other travel tip with you. Our son is about four and a half years old now and we were recently having a longer road trip with him again. Before the trip I started to collect ideas for his age: what should I prepare for him this time? I needed something age appropriate for him (and we were able to use the old tricks with his little brother from my previous post). After much consideration I made my son a TRAVEL BINDER!
This travel binder was full with stuff that he enjoys now but I think something very similar would work for older kids, as well.

DSC_2727Firs of all, I let him choose the binder itself and he instantly got excited about the hole thing and was looking forward the trip.

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As you can see on the picture above, I added a plastic pouch to keep the pencils etc. together with the binder. I just cut two holes with scissors and it was good to go. It worked out very well throughout the road trip.

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Beside the pencils I bought two non-permanent markers for this binder because I thought he could use those on the plastic and solve the mazes and other worksheets with them without taking each sheet out. He even tried it but his hand ended up all dirty from the ink, so he rather took out the pages from the plastic and worked on the paper itself.

The very first page in the binder was a map of our route. I even marked the three places where we would stop and stay overnight. My idea was that he won’t be asking all the time how far we are but he still managed it although to be honest he asked this question a lot less, so my plan worked. And he also enjoyed drawing on the map: he added a couple of large islands to Europe and some ships in the sea.

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Next I printed out some coloring pages. Most of them were knight and castle related, or Easter related, since we were traveling to see our relatives for Easter.

DSC_2730Then I printed out a couple of mazes which he enjoys lately a lot.

DSC_2731His other favorite worksheets are the ones where he has to find the (5-10) differences on the pictures. Great stuff for a 4/5 years old kid! You can find those online, as well and just print them out.

DSC_2732I also added a few pages with pictures of family members to doodle on them. Although I showed him how doodles work prior to our trip, he didn’t bother to try it on the trip. Maybe in a couple of years it will be more fun for him.

DSC_2736What he loved most were simply stickers. This one never gets old, I guess.

 

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I stored the stickers in a buttoned folder at the end of the binder. I added this folder by punching two holes into it with the normal paper puncher.

DSC_2734I also added two worksheets: one where he had to check the vehicles if he saw one on the road (tracks, helicopter, fire truck, bus, etc); the other one was a color match game, but the same method.

DSC_2737We also had some fun with scratch off pages that I found in our local dollar store.

The last thing in the binder was an other folder to keep the plain white papers in and it also doubled as a tiny desk for drawing.

DSC_2740Look, he drew himself on the top of the walnut tree! He was climbing that tree during our stay at the Grandparents’ every single day!

DSC_2741We spent about 4-6 hours in the car twice, and after the vacation two whole days in a row on the way back. I think our son enjoyed the travel binder very much, maybe a bit less then I hoped but I am convinced that it was a good idea and we definitely enjoyed some quiet time in the front seats. We are traveling this week again and although it will be just a short, two hours road trip, we’ll bring the binder again and try to finish it all!
I hope you like this idea and find it inspirational. Please, let me know how do you occupy your kids on a road trip! I would love to hear more tips!

 

Pot or Casserole Carrier

This sewing project was made for my Grandma’s 80th birthday a couple of weeks ago and as I promised, here I am with the details and pictures of it. My uncle lives with my Grandma and he gave me the diameters of the plastic box which my Grandma uses to carry cakes and other sweets to parties. This box has no handles on it and this is why I thought a carrier for it should be a good present to her birthday. And with my uncle’s help it could even be a surprise for my Grandma.

But this also meant that I did not have the box while making the carrier, so I used a similar sized cardboard box in the process as my template. The inspiration was this beautiful green casserole carrier with wooden spoon handles but of course I had to make my own pattern after the measurements I received.

DSC_2116First I sprayed together the layers for quilting. I was only able to sew strait lines because my sewing machine can’t have free motion quilting foot (it’s a basic household model). Very unfortunate… Anyway, I managed to quilt it like this:

DSC_2128I left out the middle panel because after sewing together the two pieces I wanted to quilt them together. They became later the bottom of the cake box carrier. But before that I added a blue bias tape to the edges. Did you notice that the fabric patterns are the same but in two different color?

DSC_2133Then I realized that the hole thing was brighter then my wooden spoons, so I had to get the seam ripper and make some adjustments.

DSC_2136Finally it looked ok and the size was right.

DSC_2138I had to hand-stitch the loops because my poor sewing machine couldn’t handle so many layers but they look fine even from the inside:DSC_2245I finished the loops for the wooden spoons, then quilted the two pieces together as I mentioned before.

DSC_2238This is how it turned out from both sides:

DSC_2243Take a look at it from the right side:

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The finishing step was to add the velcro and voila!

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Please, note that the box on the pictures is slightly bigger that the actual plastic box and the carrier in reality fits just perfectly! (Sorry, no pictures though…)

DSC_2240What are your thoughts on this cake/pot carrier?

DSC_2239I liked this project because it wasn’t too difficult, it looks lovely with its cheerful colors and not at last, it is practical. I hate things with no purpose but this one will hopefully help my Grandma for many more years to carry her delicious cakes!

My First (Toddler) Backpack

A couple of weeks ago I was sewing something and my toddler son came to sit beside me. He found a piece of ribbon on my sewing desk: it was the Hungarian tricolor. Red, white and green. It’s like the Italian flag but the other way around. We started to chat about it and somehow we came up with the idea to make a new backpack for him and put the ribbon onto it.
A few days later I started the project and I told my son that I will use two fabric: dad’s old, worn out green jeans and my old scouting skirt. I wanted to to turn the skirt into something meaningful because I wore it for so long and it meant a lot to me but unfortunately it didn’t fit me anymore. And making a backpack for my son seemed like the right idea.

I searched on Pinterest for a tutorial because I had never made a backpack before and I found this great description. I made some adjustments to it but basically I followed her instructions. Check out how the backpack turned out:

DSC_2691I love the pockets on both sides because we always carry little bottles with us. Very practical!

DSC_2692The top is closed by a rubber band.

DSC_2696I also added some velcro and a sliding “tube” to the rubber band.

DSC_2698It turned out so well, that when my brother-in-law saw it he ordered a bigger one for himself and since his 40th birthday was coming up and I had no idea what to get him as a present, I said yes. Now I am currently working on his backpack although he had some very special requests and I am scared how it will turn out but I try to stay positive and do my best! I promise to keep you updated!

Birthday Present for Great-Grandma

Before we visited our relatives in March again, I was thinking about getting lovely personalpresents for both great grandmother in our families since they were celebrating their birthdays in a few weeks apart. My Grandma was turning 80 and I made a cake box holder for her which I will present to you very soon in an other post but first check out what we made for my Husband’s Grandmother! She turned 86 and she is still a fit and amazing woman!

DSC_2424This is a small tray made out of bamboo and we added my son’s family drawing by burning it onto the try. My son is 4,5 years old now and he made this beautiful picture short after the carnival, this is why dad (left) is dressed as an Indian, next to him you can check out me as a princess with a crown, then he drew himself and finally the little brother in the brand new stroller. As a mother I absolutely adore this picture because this was the first time he drew all four of us! I love it!

I traced the drawing from paper onto the wood with the help of a carbon paper:

DSC_2312Then I started to burn the bamboo tray along the lines:

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Grandma loved this present and I wish her many more years to come!

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The great thing about this technique is that you can transport any kind of picture or text onto wood and the possibilities to make a personal present are this way really endless! And buying a wood burner does not cost more then a couple of bucks and it is worth it!

 

Easter Game!

My dear Readers!
I would like to invite you to a spring game! I made a small striped tablecloth and four mugrugs in very bright colors and the good new is that you can win this set by visiting my facebook page and sharing any of my posts. Just chose one that is closest to your heart, share it and you enter the game.

Here is the direct link to the FB Page.

My goal is to reach 100 page likes and as soon as I do that, I will do the drawing and one lucky person can win this set:

DSC_2321The tablecloth is ca 50x90cm and the mugrugs are about 19cm.

DSC_2323This is how they look from front:

DSC_2325And here is the back side:

DSC_2326I hope you like it!
We are going on a longer trip again, so see you back in April! Until then I wish you all a very happy Easter! 🙂

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Where to find Hungarian Blue Print

A few weeks ago one of my dear readers asked me if it is possible to buy Hungarian blue print fabric online. I’m sorry that it take me so long to answer this question but I am also glad that I waited so long, because I found a newly added video on the web-shop’s page as I was searching today!
There is an online store in the UK where it is possible to buy the blue prints and the good new is that they ship world wide! Here it is:
http://www.kekfestocotton.co.uk/index.php

And check out the video that I found on their website:

The video is actually from 2012, from the Huston Quilt Festival where a Hungarian quilter lady explains very well why is quilting a new thing in Hungary. And those quilts, which are presented on the festival, are absolutely amazing and I will most definitely try to look up those ladies and learn from their work! Wow! I am truly amazed because their work is very similar to what I have in mind, only they are so much more advanced in their techniques. A long way to go for me but I am happy that I found my quilter soulmates!

DIY Dragon Costume

The idea, to make a dragon costume for our one year old son, came from his big brother (4,5). He was going to be a knight for carnival and I guess he needed a dragon that he could defeat. But at the same time he got a new book about a dragon who is called “Süsü” in Hungarian. He is the main character of a puppet show, very famous in Hungary and everybody loves Süsü.

His story goes like this:

He lives in dragonland with his parents who are the king and queen there. The dragons in dragonland are dangerous and mean creatures except Süsü: he is kind and loving. One time he event tries to cure the wounded enemy of his father and because of that he is forced to leave dragonland. After leaving, he is chasing butterflies and searching for his favorite food (wild pears) and meats a prince. They become very good friends and their exciting and sweet adventure goes on.

Here is the intro of the puppet show:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07MZjctmv7A

So after all, we decided to make a costume for our son nr2. just like Süsü. Check out how I made it!

Last year I made a few very cute bonnet hats and I wanted to combine that pattern with a sweater and make a hoody. So I started this project with the hood and added the dragon-ears to the seam.

DSC_1825Cutting out the parts: I added a 3cm wide collar, so I could attach the hood later to the sweater.

DSC_1831When I turned the hood inside out, it looked like this:

DSC_1838As you can see, I sewed one more seam on the right side with a 1cm seam allowance to make the hood look even more beautiful.

Then I made the head of the dragon separately and I attached it later to the hood by hand-stitching.

DSC_1835These two green pieces were cut out for  the head and the white ones for the teeth. (For which I used felt)

DSC_1839Then I used some white cotton fabric, batting and unused bobbins to make the eyes of the dragon:

DSC_1865Finished them up with black felt and more green fleece around the eyes and finally attached them to the head like this:

DSC_1866When the eyes were done, I hand-stitched again the nose and some yellow felt to make his hear:

DSC_1867When its face was done, I pinned together the two green fleece right sides facing together with the teeth and sewed them together but not completely:

DSC_1868I left a hole on the back of the head so I could turn it inside out and to add the filling:

DSC_1874After stuffing the head with the filling, I closed the seams on the back once again by hand-stitching it. As the head of Süsü was done, I only needed to attach it to the hood! But first I made the sweater. For that I used one of his existing hoody as pattern. I added a short zipper on front and a couple of yellow and green dots on the back and sides:

DSC_2014Adding those dots was pretty time-consuming but it was worth the effort at the end! There was one more thing missing: the wings! I had beautiful dark green felt left from my advent calendar project and I was glad to use it again! I added those yellow seams to make the wings look like the original ones and they turned out to be very beautiful!

DSC_2016The hoody was done so I added the head of the dragon on top of the hood:

DSC_2194And here is the back:

DSC_2192I was already very happy with what I had done but I did not stop here because I made matching pants and even a dragon tail which had a belt with velcro on it:

DSC_2195And when this one week project was done, I realized that my son is going to wear it only for a couple of hours but if you take a look at him, you’ll most likely agree with me when I say: It was totally worth it!

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DSC_2057He was so cute in this dragon costume! When he first tried it on, he started to chase his tail like a dog, it was hilarious…

And here is one more picture with his dad, the king:

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Thanks for the picture to kissadri!

What do you think? Do you celebrate carnival in your country or do you rather dress up for Halloween? What was you favorite costume so far? Mine were definitely these!

 

DIY Knight Costume

Carnival season is already over but I promised you to show how our diy costumes turned out. Today I’m going to share pictures and a step-by-step description of my older son’s knight costume.
As some of you might remember, last year he was totally crazy about firefighters, so I had to make him a firefighter costume. This year was more about knights and his wish was of course a knight costume. But he can be quiet picky sometimes and he usually knows exactly what he wants, so I sat down with him one day at the computer to check out costumes online and to gather ideas. Finally I made a drawing of a knight looking how he imagined it and he even wanted to color the picture. While we were searching, he had the idea, that his little brother could be a dragon, my husband the king and I could be the princess. “All right then, let’s make four costume instead of just one…”-that was my first thought.

Anyway, I said yes and the next step was to buy all the fabric we needed. I think I did not spend more then 50€ for all four costumes which I consider a good price. Although I spent hours (if not days) making them all and at the end my mother sent me two old dresses of mine for my princess costume because I didn’t have the time to make a new dress.
Back to the knight costume. I started with a cotton long sleeved T-Shirt: I added some shiny fabric to the sleeves to make it look like an armor.

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I made the pattern for it using the same T-Shirt: I cut out the fabric 2cm bigger on all sides in order to have enough room for the seams. The T-Shirt looked like this:

DSC_1795For the next step I was going to make the knight’s vest or top. I was using a plain grey cotton fabric and this is how I made the armholes and the neckline:

DSC_1798I cut out the hole for the head and neck.

DSC_1801Then I cut out the armholes and a 3cm wide piece in the same shape (twice, for both sides).

DSC_1804I sewed those on, facing the right sides, turned inside out and added one more seam which is visible on the right side. Finally I made a bias for the neckline.

DSC_1807Then I made a cardboard sample for the red bottom line and cut out four pieces from a plane red cotton fabric.

DSC_1810I took two of them and sewed together along the edges. Then turned it inside out and made one more seam on the right side, as well.

DSC_1815I repeated this step with the other two pieces, then press ironed both.

As the next step, I sewed them onto the bottom of the vest, sewed together the sides and I added one more golden ribbon to it, to make it look even more beautiful. So far the T-Shirt and the vest were done.

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For the “neck-protecting piece” (does anyone know what’s it called?) I used the same silver fabric that I used for the sleeves and a white jersey for the inside. This is how I made the pattern:

DSC_1818I made two of them, then sewed them together on one side and used velcro on the other side.

DSC_1819Using one of his pants as a pattern, I made a new pair from an other shiny silver fabric:

DSC_1821I used rubber band for the waist, made the pants a bit longer and added the same golden ribbon to the bottom.

And with this, my job was actually done because I made a cool knight cape for him last year which he wanted to wear with this costume, he had a plastic helmet (his dad bought it for him last summer), and of course he already had a shield (also made by me using cardboard) and a belt.

DSC_1858I think he looks total bad-ass in his costume, very cool.

DSC_1856Here is a closer picture of the belt with the sword-holder:

DSC_1862One more thing: did you notice the castle in the background? When we moved in my son got a loft bed which he loves! The bed is quiet big and there is lot of space underneath for playing or for toy-storage. After moving in we had lots of empty boxes and I used some of them to make a castle under his bed. The walls run on two sides, I added a few windows and the gate is made out of duck-tape. If you are interested in the details how I made it, please leave a comment.

I had enough left over fabric to make a similar vest for the king (my husband) and using yellow felt and a little velcro he also got his crown! Here we are with the little dragon: me in the blond wig and my proud king! (The description of the little one’s dragon costume is coming soon!)

12628440_10153606492274039_425936819598706097_o(Thanks for the picture kissadri!)

But back to the knight costume, what do you think? Do you celebrate carnival or dress up at Halloween? And do you prefer to buy or make your own costume? I think I would always make my/our costumes because the whole process from the idea to finishing it gives me great pleasure, perhaps as much as wearing it.

My first mini-quilt

I had the idea to make a recipe book for my sister for Christmas but since my sewing machine was almost three weeks long at the repair shop, there was no chance that this project will be done in time. So I told my sister that she is not getting any present this Christmas and to be honest, she was ok with it. She didn’t mind it at all but it bothered me and I couldn’t let it go.

I got back my sewing machine in mid January and started to make our carnival costumes right away. They took me weeks to finish them all, but they were ready just in time! (A post about them is coming soon by the way!)

Today is Ash-Wednesday and guess what? My sister’s Christmas present is finally finished! I know it’s ridiculous but she isn’t expecting anything from me right now and in about two weeks we are flying back home and I can give her her present at last!

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For her recipe book I chose a small (A/5) sized binder and I made a cover for it but I also added a mini quilt on the front side.

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My inspiration for this mini quilt was one of my older baby quilts (check it out here) and I know my sister loves fabric with small floral prints, so I added this cute frame to it. I like how the light blue color appears in the dark red. I think it definitely matches the colors of the mini quilt!

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I also added a button to the side: in a shape of a flower, too.

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And finally pockets on the insides.
I don’t know if my sister will use this as a recipe book or something else but I do hope she will like it.

IKEA-Hacks in the hallway

It has been already six months since we moved in to our new apartment and a couple of things are still unfinished but one thing is done: our entry way/ hallway! I am very happy about that and also proud of it because everything works well in this room.

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What we absolutely love about the hallway that it is not in the middle of the apartment as it was in our previous place. We can take off the shoes and I don’t have to worry about our crawling baby playing with the dirty shoes or crawling through the mud on the floor. Although the entry way is still not completely out of the way and he sometimes does find the shoes very fascinating but luckily it doesn’t happen very often. So that’s already a big improvement for us.

IKEA hack

The other thing is that we needed a lot more space for our coats and we got it: I made two coat racks for us using IKEA shelf consoles (EKBY VALTER), some laths from the local “Home Depot” (Bauhaus/OBI) and a couple of hooks, also from IKEA (SVARTSJÖN). The smaller version now serves the kids and the bigger one is ours and for our guests. I also decorated the bigger coat rack by burning three flowers onto it following old traditional embroidery patterns from Hungary. Just a little touch of our background.

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The kids also got a bench. I actually wanted to buy a tiny bench for them but then we realized that we had this great hanging wardrobe from our previous apartment which we didn’t want to use anymore, so we just took that and put it on the floor. It’s also from IKEA and called GREVBÄCK.

The standing shelf is also from IKEA, called MOLGER and is originally a part of a bathroom series. The mirror is an older piece from IKEA, which they don’t sell anymore. You might wonder if we are crazy about IKEA or what is the reason for us to buy so many furniture from that store. Well, in Aachen there are other furniture stores, some of them offer a better quality and a lot higher price, others offer lower prices but also lower quality. There is nothing else in between. Those who know IKEA products, can tell, that most of their furniture are functional and last for 5-10 years. If you don’t plan to use them longer, then you’ll most likely be satisfied. Plus we also love assembling furniture!DSC_2033

I was searching for a good place in our home that we could use as art display for the kids, so I hang a string on the wall for a kids art gallery and we love it ever since.

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There was a huge built-in-wardrobe in the hallway as we moved in. We could to decide if wanted to keep it or have it removed but we kept it, although it looks very outdated and it is as old, as the building (about thirty years old) but as I said, it is huge and can hide so many thing like the vacuum cleaner, suitcases and more.

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An old chair also landed in the hallway. Originally I decorated it for the nursery but there was no need for it there anymore and it is perfect for putting on the shoes.
Hallelujah! Our entry way is done: looks nice and functions well.
How you deal with the muddy shoes if you live in an apartment and can’t leave them outside? I would be glad to hear your ideas!

Confession

I have a confession to make to you, my dear Readers…

I often search on Pinterest for inspiration or read other blogs but sometimes I get the feeling that those writes have it all figured out and everything seems to be perfect in their lives. Well, it is certainly not in my life and I do believe that everybody has their own struggles and makes mistakes, they just chose not to share that part of their lives publicly. I get that and some part of me agrees with that because why would I share my everyday struggles if this blog isn’t about that? This blog tries to be the opposite of that: inspiration and (hopefully) good ideas to make our lives a bit happier.

But I also believe if a project fails, I have to share that, too because my failure can help others to grow, as well. Not just me.

Anyway, do you remember about my idea for advent? I was trying to write letters and reconnect old, good friends throughout advent: each day a friend. But this project failed because I was able to write only four letters instead of 24. This wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t write about my plans on this blog because nobody would know about it. But I fear that some of my friends might had been expecting letters from me and they might feel left out now.

Still, this problem might exist only in my head but I apologize if I did hurt someone’s feelings.

Binder in Frog Cover

When my sewing machine broke down before Christmas, I was working on a project for my son’s kindergarten teachers: a binder cover. It was supposed to be a Christmas present but then I wasn’t able to finish it before the holidays. I got back my sewing machine about a week ago and I had to finish this project right away, so I could give this late present to the teachers asap.

The truth is that I bought the fabric maybe a year ago: when I saw the frog themed pattern on it I thought of my son’s group right away because it’s called the frog group! I bought a smaller piece from the fabric and then waited for the inspiration which came shortly before Christmas.

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I needed:

  • a back piece: white fabric
  • the front piece: the fabric with the frogs and a blue stripe in the middle
  • two white and two blue piece for the ears of the binder cover
  • two blue and two frog patterned fabric for the pockets

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When the project was done the binder cover and the binder looked like this:

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Not a complicated project but has it’s own tricks: for example how to hide the seams. If you are interested in the step-by-step tutorial check out my previous binder cover here!

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I gave it to the kindergarten teachers last week and they liked it very much. One of them came to me today and said that they will use it in the group as a photo album for the kids. They were looking for an album with a sturdy cover so the kids can use it and hopefully it won’t be ruined as quickly.

DIY Elf Hat

At the beginning of December, when I still had my sewing machine working, I made two matching elf hats for my sons. I used a fleece blanket from Ikea and an old jersey T-Shirt for the inside of the hats. I find it very strange that you can buy 1,7m long fleece blankets for 3-4 euros but at the fabric store they cost 5-8 euros per meter.

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I already made a similar hat for my older son last year, but to refresh my memory on how to do it, I visited this tutorial. Of course I had to make my own patterns because of the size difference.

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For our (almost one year old!) baby boy I had to adjust the bottom, so we can close the hat under his chin with velcro instead of tying laces.
When the hats were finished, my older boy asked me to sew laces on because his ears were still cold in the hat. So I added those later.

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Not to forget it, I also made scarves for the boys from the same fleece blanket.
They look very sweet wearing the hats.

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Merry Christmas!

Hello Everyone!
I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a blessed new year!
In the holiday spirit I would also like to share my last three projects with you. As you know, my sewing machine is not working right now but I still had three projects to finish before Christmas arrived.

One of them was a nativity scene picture made out of scrap book papers:

nativity scene

The other one was a very simple felt ornament for my Grandma. I used a smaller version from last year as a template which I made for my son for the advent’s calendar.

christmas ornament

The third project was pine cone owl ornaments made from felt. I found the instructions here but instead of the feet I added a bow on top of each, so I can hang them on the Christmas tree.

owl ornament

Aren’t they cute? Here is one more picture of them:

owl ornamentSee you next year!

When disaster occours…

This time I am not talking about flood or volcano eruption although I admit those are real catastrophic events. But in a sewers life it is most certainly a disaster when her sewing machine breaks and unfortunately this is exactly what happened to me. Of course it happens a few days before Christmas when I was about to get four more projects done…

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My little precious thing started skipping stitches a few weeks back, then I went through several check lists: what to check, where to try to solve the problem but nothing seemed to help. Yesterday I tried even more thing which eventually lead to the end of my story: the sewing machine even started to break the thread and I can’t find the problem. Believe me, I tried. Even my husband tried. There is nothing else left to do but to take it to the repair shop which would be an other time of the year all right but before Christmas? It’s not going to be easy and it’s most likely not going to be repaired before Christmas. I am devastated.

Top Knot Jersey Hat

As Christmas is getting closer and closer, I had to realize that I am very much behind with presents this year. To be honest I don’t care much because I don’t want to get quickly something for my loved ones just so I can give something. No, I don’t think that would show my love and appreciation for them. Instead I will concentrate on the kids first. There are four kids in our family: we have two boys and my brother has two girls (4 and 6). All four of them have everything they need and some more. Yes, we are blessed. But still it’s Christmas and they are kids, so I made the girls matching hats and scarves. Both are made from the same jersey fabric but slightly different.

Jersey Sapkak

One is a little smaller of course, has the flower on the other side and the stripes run the other way. For the top knot hat I found the tutorial here but had to make my own pattern for the right size. I looked up how to make those adorable flowers and then twisted the petals and attached them with one more stitch, so they will look even better.

I hope the girls will like the hats and scarves and also that they will fit.

The girls also love crafting, so they will also receive snowflake ballerinas. Wait, what? Yes, I found those via Pinterest of course, and will draw one for each girl, so they can cut them out and hang them wherever they want. They will hopefully look something like this by the time I am done:

Instructions and picture in English here.

Just an idea

When I prepared the advent calendar for my son, I was thinking that I should do something for myself, as well. But not getting chocolate every day (I do it anyways and not just in advent…), instead something that actually means something to me. Than I came up with the idea: lets make a list of 24 friends and send them letters. Sounds wired, right? Let me explain.

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We have been living abroad ever since we got married in 2007. I consider it as a long time especially because we only planed to have an adventure for one year. These years passed by and we were not able to keep in touch with all of our friends. Not just from Hungary but we also lost contact with the new friends, too when they moved away or we did. This is not entirely a bad thing. What I mean is that you don’t need to keep in touch with every one but you must appreciate your good friends who stood by you when you needed them. And moving to a foreign country shows you exactly who are your true friends. Many of them will probably think that you are the one who moved, you shall make the effort to keep in touch. But I disagree. It takes two. For me it was hard to realize that many of my friends didn’t even care to send an email once in a while, they just didn’t care about me as much as I thought they would.

But what can you do? You take a deep breath and move on: appreciate your real friends!
And this advent I am trying to do that by making the time and effort and sending them a decent letter instead of making an empty new year’s resolution or just signing a Christmas card. I might not finish my list before Christmas but I don’t think that it matters. Just make the effort and show your appreciation and love!