Baskets

Our little baby boy has turned three months old last weekend and things are finally getting normal again around the house. Also my husband spent last month at home on parental leave which was really helpful for me and great for all of us. With his help I was able to start jogging. I was never a big fan of jogging but I felt like I have to do something to keep my body in shape after the second baby and this seemed the easiest solution. So I went jogging two times a week for a month and still try to keep this new habit of mine.
Anyway, the last time I went jogging on Thursday I found great treasures thrown away on the streets. In Germany you can find amazing things on the streets. There is a garbage truck that comes every few weeks and picks up old furnishings that people don’t need anymore. So you just put your junk on the streets the night before and the next morning it’s gone. They do not have garage sales but if you go around your neighborhood or even the city, you can find great treasures. I often see students carrying couches by hand or other stuff. And it is not all junk! Really, sometimes things are in great condition!

Like those baskets that I found when I was jogging. It happened like a cartoon: I was jogging by a big pile (rattan sofa, baskets and a lot more), I noticed those baskets, was jogging backwards, picked the little basket up and continued jogging. Like nothing happened. Just kept it casual… ūüôā Except I looked ridiculous on the way home jogging with a basket. Anyway, ¬†I told my husband about my findings and he went back later with his bike to pick up the bigger basket.

This is how we ended up with these:

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My older son helped me cleaning them both. The smaller one was a bit dirtier, so I decided to sew a linen for it. This is how I made it:
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I put the basket on my fabric and cut out a circle about the same size as the bottom.
Folded the circle in four, measured the radius and calculated the circumference (105cm) . I also measured the side of the basket and added about 10cm to it (45cm).

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With those I was able to cut the side piece: circumference for the longer side and the height of the side for the shorter side (105x45cm).

DSC_1856I made a cut in the middle (ca. 10-12cm) for the handle of the basket.
Folded it (I did the same on both sides), pinned it and stitched it.

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Then I folded the upper and longer edge of the fabric, as well and sewed it together. It was a big fold, about 2cm wide.

DSC_1859As the next step, I pinned the circle in the middle of the side fabric. Marked at one-forth and pinned together accordingly.

DSC_1862It looked like this, then sewed together:

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As the final step I sewed the side seam and it was almost done.

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With the help of a safety pin I added a nice green ribbon

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and this is how it looks now:
KosarakNot bad, right? Now we have an exceptional laundry basket for our baby boy. Yes, we decided to use it as a laundry basket. Why not? It’s beautiful and costs almost nothing!
This is one of the few things that I love about Germany: free treasures on the streets!

 

The other basket was in way better shape but the top of it was unfortunately broken. I cleaned the hole thing. My husband found an article about cleaning and updating these kind of baskets and rattan furniture. So you have to give it a good clean with a paste made of salt and warm water. Then rinse it (I did it in the shower), let it dry on the air, then rub it with oil. We used the oil what we bought from IKEA for our wooden cutting board and it worked just fine.

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First I didn’t want to, but then I did repair the top of the large basket by hand-sewing with bast (raffia) and now it stands in our living room and we keep our blankets in it. I love it because it helps us keep the living room more organized. My husband loves it because it brings him back sweet childhood memories. And it didn’t go to waste! Win-win-win!
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Bike Wall Clock

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My brother is a huge fan of bikes: he was a bike messenger about ten years ago and ever since he only travels by bike. He lives in the capital of Hungary (Budapest) which is a big city with 2 million people living there. The Danube-river divides the city into two parts: the West side is very hilly (has an amazing royal castle on top), the East side on the other hand is quiet flat. My brother lives on that side but it doesn’t stop him from biking anywhere he wants: on the weekends he would for example ride out of town to the mountains if he is in the mood for that.

It’s something that I respect in him very much but for example my parents don’t get it. Although he should wear a helmet which he doesn’t…
Anyway, my brother had his birthday recently and I made him a “Bike Wall Clock”. The original idea came from the fair trade shop where I worked this year (Weltladen Aachen): they had a great wall clock made from a bicycle’s gear. It looks very special but was a bit too expensive for my taste (and pocket), so I was inspired and made this instead:

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First I went to the local “dollar store” and bought a wall clock that was good material for make-over. Then I covered it with a piece of paper. For that I used regular paper-glue.
Then I printed out the bicycles in two pieces (I found the print online and made some adjustments to it using picasa). I also choose and printed out the numbers.
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After that I applied those with regular paper glue and also added a little black circle in the middle to cover up the edge of the white paper below.

As the next step, I cut out a few cm bigger circle of foil to cover up the whole clock. This is why I used only regular paper glue before, because I knew that the foil will hold every piece on its place very well.

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As you can see, I cut out a little hole in the middle and cut the back side into two parts: this is necessary in order to be able to peel off the back side of the foil. But I did this step very carefully and I did not cut into the foil. So I peeled off the back side in two pieces and got rid of the bubbles from underneath with the help of a ruler.

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When the foil was finally on the clock, I cut into it all around and then turned the edges backwards.

BalioraAnd voila! The bike wall clock was done!

DSC_0840To be honest I do have one concern with this project: I wonder how well will the foil hold when it gets hot in the summer and the sun shines directly to the wall clock a lot. We’ll see…

 

Betlehem applique

After the Nikolausmarkt last weekend I decided to make a present for a very nice couple who helped me a lot on the market. But they are a bit older, so giving them something from what I already made just wasn’t an option. They don’t need kids stuff. But they did appreciate my sewing skills and my fabric pictures, so the idea of making them a nativity themed applique picture seemed right.

First, I made a sketch how the thing should look like and also how big it should be, so that it will fit to the frame I had.

Top.bmpThis is an A/4 sized paper (you can download and print it, if you want to make a picture like this!)

Next step was to decide on the fabrics, colors and cut them out fitting to this sketch. For that I went to the window, held up my sketch and put the little piece of fabric on top of that (with vliesofix on the back side), and just traced the lines from the sketch to the fabric. Once all the pieces were cut out, I had to decide what pieces sew first, and what next. I planed the layers like this:

IMGP89341. First I sewed the star onto the base fabric in the middle and a few rays toward the edges. 

IMGP89352. Next came the “bodies” of Mary and Joseph, his crosier and baby Jesus’ outer halo. Oh, and of course the heads.

When I was cutting out the pieces, I cut out a bit bigger where I knew that the layers will overlap each other. This way the thread in the seams doesn’t bulk up.

IMGP89373. Third came Joseph’s vest, baby Jesus’ inner halo and Mary’s arm and hand. See, now you probably understand better what I meant on planning the layers. It is the key to this project!

IMGP89384. Then came Joseph’s arm and hand, bird, baby Jesus’ body and Mary’s veil.

IMGP89395. Next were baby Jesus’ head and Joseph’s headscarf, then finally the crib. At each step I ironed the fabric and of course all little piece had vliesofix on the back, so first I ironed those to the base fabric, sewed them, and then iron again. Repeat each step, until you are done. At the end I also ironed the edge-lines to fold them back.

6. Hand stitch the eyes, mouths and hair. I forgot to stitch the band on Joseph’s headscarf. Don’t do that. If it is necessary, make a list of all the steps before you start!

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IMGP8940Already shaping up, right?

7. Turn the whole thing over and hand-stitch the corners. First stitch two corners on one side, then slip the plastic (or glass) from the frame inside the fabric, then stitch the two other corners on the other side. First I stitched all four corners but then it was impossible to slip the plastic inside and I had to rip the seams.

IMGP89448. It’s done. Put the picture into the frame, cover up with the paper back and tadaa!

IMGP8946Put it on the mantel, in the window, or up to the wall, anywhere. I really like what I achieved in this project because I was afraid, it won’t work because of it’s small size. I am not saying it is an easy project but it can be done in 3-5 hours. Maybe a little more if you decide to do it by hand. Don’t forget to change the thread with each piece of fabric! I might make an other, bigger one for us: with shepherds, sheep, donkey, angel, camel and the three wise men etc. Probably it will take more then 3-5 hours but anyway, Rome wasn’t built in one day and it is amazing. So will be my next picture!

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Bedroom makeover

A couple of weeks ago I had a crazy idea: surprise my husband and paint a wall in our bedroom while he is at a meeting in Antwerp. Actually we talked about this a few months back but we never did anything about it and just forgot it. I needed some help, so I called a dear friend and she even came with me to buy all the supplies and paint, and then I hid all the stuff in my son’s wardrobe. Clever, right?
The next day we droped off our son at day care, had breakfast together then I doped off my husband at his workplace (he was leaving for the meeting from there). After that I got home very quickly and started to prepare the room. I was already busy pushing furniture around and taping the walls, when I realized that I didn’t take a “before picture”. So here is the one where you can see, that all of our furniture in the bedroom and the walls were white.

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Very boring and this is the main reason why I wanted to paint but decided not to paint the whole room, just one wall.

Next day my friend came over and we had lots of fun painting, some challenges, as well, but after all we were done by noon. And voila!

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I was very proud of the work we did but something was still missing. Yes, some kind of a wall art above the bed.
The next day I cleaned up the whole room and around 9pm my husband came home. I was a bit nervous but he absolutely loved it! Thank God!
And he also had a great idea: somewhere at my parents’ we had a beautiful painting of sunflowers, that we got as a wedding present from one of my husband’s friends but we never had a proper place to hang it. And finally we did! Six years of waiting, but worth it! Take a look:

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IMGP7604Much better, right? Thanks again, Smuki!

Ok, this was done. But not the bedroom. On the opposite wall there was still a big empty space and in the living room we were short on bookshelf-space, so we decided to put up some shelves in the bedroom.

IMGP7257And now it looks much better with the new shelves and we love it!

IMGP7608Do you like the results? In the middle you can see the reproduction of my favorite painting: The nut gatherers (1882) by William Adolphe Bouguereau. I saw this painting and fall in love with it in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Good memories…

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Felt picture and mobile for the nursery

A little more then one year ago we were building together the new furniture for the nursery and of course I was thinking about the decor. We just moved into the apartment which was newly renovated and all the walls were painted white. I didn’t want to paint over because it was so fresh although I would had preferred a little more color, but again we just moved in and the baby was going to born any minute. So we left the white walls.

We already chose a fun fabric for the curtain from IKEA with trees on it and I had leftovers. I really liked the trees on it and wanted to make some pictures for the wall, this is how I came up with the idea of this: I cut out one tree and sewed it onto a plain beige fabric.

Then I cut out some birds, flowers, apples, mushrooms and clouds of felt and arranged them on the tree. I sewed them on and then made a frame for it also out of leftover fabric. Finally I glued the whole fabric-picture onto a piece of cardboard and there you have it: a sweet picture for the nursery!

Actually I ended up making two because the wall was still empty and I also made matching felt-birds for the mobile. And I can tell you, my son was looking at the pictures all the time during feeding and he still loves those birds over his bed.

I’d like to add a couple more picture of the new creations that I made using the same technique. Here they are:

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Autumn decorations

I know, it’s already November but I thought I would share this idea of mine. We don’t celebrate Halloween in our culture but I still wanted to decorate our home a little bit for the fall, so I made these paper-pumpkins or paper-globes. I used scrapbook paper which is great because it has pattern usually on both sides and for this project it is awesome. For the orange “pumpkin” I cut out 8 strips: about 1,2 cm wild and 28 cm long. I made a little hole in the middle and 0,5 cm far from both ends with the help of a pin. In the inside of the “pumpkin” runs a thin wire: I put beads on the wire at the bottom of the “pumpkin”, inside and the top, so the beads keep the globe form in shape. Starting from the bottom with two or three beads, then go through all the paper stripes in the middle with the wire, beads again, close up the paper strips on top and a few more beads. And finally make a tiny loop out of the wire. Tie a nice ribbon onto the loop and it’s done.

For the globe on the right side I used only 4 stripes. It’s a very¬†flexible¬†project: you can make smaller, bigger paper globes, or using different colors. Hang them on windows, doors, lamps, use them as center pieces for Thanksgiving…

Last year I created a couple of Christmas tree ornaments using the same technique but of course I measured everything to be a bit smaller and I think the result speaks for itself:

 

More felt ornaments

Well, I think I’m in love with felt. They are colorful and easy to work with. So here are a couple more ornaments for the Christmas tree.

For these harts I used my cookie cutter as a sample. Cut out two harts. For sewing and decorating use stitching yarn. First you have to decorate one side and start to sew both sides together just afterwards! Tie the stitching yarn with a loop: this will be the hanger on top. Start to sew on top so your hanger will be right where it should be. When you’re almost done (about 2cm before finishing) fill the hart with a little stuffing material and then finish sewing all the way!

For the snow flakes you have to use the same technique as for the harts.

¬†For the windmill I cut out two squares. The bigger one is 10x10cm. This will be on the backside. The smaller one is 8,5×8,5cm and it will be on the front side. And I also cut out a little circle for the middle. Cut both squares diagonally starting from the corners towards the middle but don’t cut it through all the way, stop about 2cm far from the center. Now put the two layers on each other and fold the edges inside. You can eider glue or stitch the four corners down. Then using hot glue gun apply the circle onto the middle of the windmill. Done. Now you just need to sew a piece of yarn on one edge so you can hand the windmill on the Christmas tree or wherever you would like to.