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…

 

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Paper gift-bag tutorial

As I mentioned before, I volunteer in a local fair trade shop and it is part of my job to make paper gift-bags for jewelry when no customer is around. But at first I had no clue how to make them, until a couple of my colleagues taught me. It is actually not that difficult but as everything else, it needs a bit of practice.

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And as Christmas is getting closer and closer, you might want to learn how to make these adorable paper bags. You can even make 24 of them and use them as Advent calendar. So let me take you through the process step by step.

1. STEP: Choose a small box as a sample. I used a chalk box from IKEA but it is really up to you what size do you prefer or have on hand. Cut the wrapping paper according to the size of your box: it should be about 3cm/1 inch longer on the shorter sides of the box (they will turn into the top and bottom of your bag) and on the longer sides the paper should overlap.

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STEP 2: Decide which color would you like to use. My bag will be red on the outside and green on the inside. On one shorter side I folded into the paper twice (about 6-8mm wide), so the top of the bag will be neat at the end.

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STEP 3 and 4: Then I turned the paper: the red side was facing down. I put the box onto the paper (in the middle), folded the longer sides and taped it with a very little piece of tape.

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STEP 5: After that I taped along the edge. Make sure to turn the end of the tape inside, as well. NOTE: if you want to make the other version (with the little ear on top), leave out step 2 and now use a decorative washi tape!

 

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STEP 6: Now press the corners with your fingers all the way to both ends of the paper and of course on all four corners! This step is actually very important, don’t forget it!

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STEP 7: As the next step I made the bottom of the bag. To do that, you have to slide the box into the “paper tunnel” as much, so there is enough (but not too much) paper to fold. Now fold in the shorter sides and be very precise! Then fold in the “back side” of your future bag. If you are making a similar bag, that would be where you taped before. If you are using a decorative whasi tape for the front, then the back side will be the one without the tape. At last fold in the “front side”!

Papiertüte4STEP 8: Tape the bottom and then slide out the box. You won’t need it anymore.

Papiertüte5STEP 9: Press together the sides of the bag with your fingers as shown on the picture. Start from top to bottom, this way you can create a neat corner at the bottom. Don’t forget the other side!

Papiertüte6STEP 10: Now your bag should look like this:

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If you turn the bottom backwards, your bag is actually done. You can add a long piece of dubble sided tape to the top (see picture below) which is very practical when you close the bag because no tape will be seen from the outside. Very professional-looking! The only thing is left to decorate it, for that skip step 11 and go to step 12!

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STEP 11: If you are making the other version with the whasi tape, it is now time to create the little “ear” on top. For that you have to make small diagonal cuts on the front side, fold the “ear” and then cut off the rest.

Papiertüte7STEP 12: Decorating. There is no limit to this step. I made little bows and used the store’s sticker but you can draw, paint, glue etc. anything onto the paper bag. If you use this bag for Christmas, make something personalized or attach a small tree ornament to the gift bag.

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And don’t forget: the size is variable, it only depends on the box that you choose as template. You can make a small bag for a pair of earrings or a huge bag for large presents, as well.

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5 card board project for the kids

This summer we had some pretty long vacation time first in France then in Hungary. We came back to Aachen about a week ago and finally things start to get back to normal which also means that I will (at least try to) write posts regularly again.

First I would like to start with a collection of paper projects. The reason for this is that we tend to order more and more stuff online which brings us to a new problem: we have tons of boxes all the time. Mostly good quality card board boxes and I hate to throw them away although recycling in Germany is quiet good, I sometimes still try to find a second use for those boxes.

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1. Once I simply drew a map on the box for my son. But it wasn’t just any map, it was the house and garden of his grandparents! All the rooms in the house were there, the garage in the garden etc. Then we grabbed a couple of Duplo figures and started to play like we were visiting Grandpa and Grandma. My son even “went for a bike ride” with his Grandpa on the board. Then we switched to the other side of the board and the other side of the family: drew a map of the other Grandparents’ house, as well.

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I think if we played the same game with his favorite places, it will be also a big hit.

2. The other project was a doll house.

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I didn’t make it very girly, since I have a son but it still has a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom. And of course a garage.

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This house is called “Uncle Kalman’s house”. We named it after Kalman Kittenberger because my husband is related to him: he was a famous traveller and biologist in the early 1900s. He went to Africa six times and collected animals for Hungary’s zoo. We have a Duplo figure that we named Uncle Kalman and we sometimes play that he is travelling to Africa and catches elephants and other animals. My husband even tells family stories about “Uncle Kalman”, and my son once asked if  he was a real person. I think this is the way how to teach history at an early age.

IMGP91873. The third project would be a fire truck, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it. So you just have to believe me: we painted a large box red together, made wheels, lights and other important features. My son only played with it for a couple of weeks but it made him very happy.

4. The latest project was a Foosball table. To tell the truth, my son is not appreciating it as much as I hoped he would. My guess is that he doesn’t understand the concept just yet but he still tries to play sometimes with us.

DSC_0047For this project you can find a great tutorial on this site. I made a couple of details differently, as you can see and I only spent about 4€ on the wooden sticks and wrapping paper.

DSC_00505. The last project is actually four in one but it is not made of card board box. Around May there was a big sale on calendars in the local book stores and I found a great one. Of course we already had a wall calendar and we didn’t need an other one, so I cut this one up: The pictured part was used as a book. It’s kind of a “Wimmelbuch”. In German it means books like “Find Waldo”: tons of detailed picture on one single page. I didn’t even give this book to my son right away, instead I put it aside for when we are travelling by car.

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I cut down the actual calender part: we used the back side as twelve piece of beautiful drawing paper.
The big front page was put on my son’s wall above his little desk. Very nice room-deco for almost free.
The forth use of this calendar was the card board back. I cut out and created two shield for my little knight.

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Lothringair

I was participating in the Lothringair Street Festival (in Aachen) last weekend: had a booth filled with my precious creations. I did this for the second time in my life and I can already tell that it went a bit better then the first time. I was more relaxed and knew what to expect. But the most important thing for me is still to try to have fun otherwise why do it, right?

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The weather forecast was bad, it supposed to rain and of course it made me worry. So I got last minute a pavilion but after all the weather was very nice: not too hot and no rain, at all!
My booth was set up at the end of the street and in front of a stage. This was a lucky choice, I had enough traffic. The people were very friendly and interested in my work. Having actual face to face contact with the costumers is very important if you are running an otherwise online business. At least it helps me keep my spirit up.
A few friends and my family visited me which was also great to have them there beside me: I could finally show them what I’ve got and they kept encouraging me.

 

In preparation for this event I made a sign for my business. I used simple paper products, glue and scissors. Check it out how I made it!
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First I printed out the sewing machine and the name from my logo.

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Then I chose a thin cardboard in similar color to my business card. I also cut out a piece of thicker cardboard for the back side.

IMGP0779After that I cut out the  letters and the sewing machine and glued those onto the green board. Then I sewed on the yellow button before I glued together the green paper with the cardboard.

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Finally I punched two holes along the top side and voila! It’s done!

 

 

IMGP0780And this is how it looked in my booth:

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“Get Well Soon” Card

In the last three months there were two accidents in our family: my father-in-law and my husband’s grandmother broke their legs. We have been sending them “Get well soon” cards, paintings of my two-and-a-half years old son, pictures etc. Once we traced our son’s hugging arms on a huge piece of paper and sent it to Grandpa which is still his favorite thing he received from us. But I felt like I am running out of ideas and our great-grandma is still in bed, so we would like to send her more things that will hopefully keep her spirit up. And then a couple of days ago I came across this idea on Pinterest and made a similar card:

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I think it turned out very nicely and my son could help me make it because he loves stickers. Fun for him and he knows it’s gonna be great-Grandma’s, so I think he made it with love. Such a cute idea, isn’t it?

(Unfortunately the link to the original card was a dead end, so I can’t share it.)

Getting the car ready for a road trip (Part 1.)

Finally the summer has arrived to Aachen, too and we are planning a trip to Hungary again, to visit our relatives. We will travel by car and the last few trips to Hungary taught us a couple of lessons. Our car (Opel Astra) is not 100% comfortable for long trips as it is, although we love our Opel and otherwise we are very satisfied with it. But a 12-14 hour long trip is a lot, especially with kids.

The first problem to solve was some kind of an arm-support for the driver. Mostly my husband drives on these long trips and after a few hours he usually has pain in his right shoulder/upper back because there was nothing to support his arm. And the pain stays with him for weeks after these long trips, which is a very bad way to start any vacation. So I searched on the internet for some kind of a solution and you can buy these parts for any car (sorry, I don’t know its official name if it has one), but they start about 34-45 Euros. Hmmm… Then my husband had an idea: try to make one out of scratch. This is how I ended up with the biggest puzzle in my life (so far). Take a look:

IMGP7172I measured the place between the two car seats including the space for the seat belts and the parking break. Then I took a shoe box and lots and lots of tape. After a couple of hours of taping and trying it out in the car this box was my final result. Looks crazy, right? I also cut out a circle for a plastic cup, that used to be a salad-cup, and our mug or a small bottle of water fits into it.

IMGP7173I stuffed the whole box with wrapping paper for more stability. Then I taped some betting (which I usually use in patchwork blankets) onto the front top of the box.

IMGP7177After that I measured a good piece of fabric (inside out!) for upholstering.

IMGP7178Then I cut out a hole for the plastic cup and just slid it into the hole.

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This way I can take out the plastic cap and wash it or the cover of the box any time I need to. Tada!

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IMGP7182Take a look how it fits into the car:

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IMGP7187Ok, I must admit, that I have doubts that it will fit perfectly but I thought we give it a try and if something goes wrong, we can still buy the professional-arm-support-thing. We will see and I promise to get back to you and tell, what happened on our road trip.

The other ting that I bought for the car is an organizer on the back of the seat.

IMGP7193I truly believe this will be very helpful on the road.

In my next post I will show you some ideas on surviving a long road trip with your kid(s).

Photo-box

This year at Christmas (I mean last year, 2012) we wanted to send pictures to my husband’s grandmother of her great-grandson but I thought sending a pack of pictures or sanding a photo-album is very boring. And then I found this playful idea on this great blog (where you will find the tutorial as well). It’s actually a mini-birthday-album version what I created but I think it works both ways. And I made it one step easier because instead of covering a box, I bought a ready-to-go, Christmas-themed gift-box.

Please, take a look at the final photo-box:

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Paper hands

I started this project a year ago and according to my plan it’ll go on for 15-20 years. How is that possible? Last year around Christmas time our son was about three months old and I made an ornament that shows how small his hand was. My plan is to make the same kind of tree ornament for Christmas every year until he gets so big that he will refuse. But I hope in twenty years we will have a Christmas tree covered with these paper-hands especially if we will have more kids.

I used scrapbook-paper: put his hand on it and drew around it with a pencil, then I cut it out, made a hole, put a ribbon on it and finally wrote the name and the year in the middle. Very simple and look how big his hand has grown in one year!

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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:

 

Postcards

When we lived in Detroit, our church had its own festival where people were selling Hungarian food, special sweets and desserts, some souvenirs etc. There was also good music and dancing going on. I think it was a pretty good festival. I decided to help our church as I can, so I made some postcards and traditional Hungarian gingerbread. I got a table and I was selling my products for the very first time. I was very proud of myself. Especially at the end of the day when I counted the total income: 84 dollars! Of course I had to spend money first for the supplies but I was still doing very good. And it made me feel very good that I could help my church.

I just cut out the postcards from colored carton-paper and drew on them.  Before I started I bought the envelopes first and I matched the size of the postcards to them. It is not complicated but you have to have some ideas what to draw and some skills.

The finished postcards

And some more:

I’m going to show the ginger-breads in an other post. I promise.