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:

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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.

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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.

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

owl ornamentSee you next year!

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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!

Have a blessed Advent!

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Do you remember my posts about the advent calendar from last year? If not, you can check them out here. I created that calendar for my three years old son who is now one year older of course. Last year he decorated the tree at once, maybe played with the ornaments a couple of times but I think he is appreciating it even more this year because he puts up the ornaments one by one, each morning just one. He is at the age where he tries to understand the meaning of “yesterday”, “tomorrow”, “next week” and “at Christmas” and probably this is why he gets it more.  And he didn’t recognize it from last year which is also great.

The other thing that I made as a present last year was a nativity themed applique:

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If you are looking for a similar project, you can find my tutorial right here. I might make an other but bigger one this year with the three wise man, animals, angel etc. At least that’s the plan…

Have a blessed Advent!

 

DIY Wine Tote

Last week I promised you a post about the wine bottle tote bag that I created for our little craft fair. The idea of making something like this came from a costumer last year who said that he adores my products but he is an elderly man who has also bigger grandchildren, so he just couldn’t use any of them. True. My products were made almost entirely for babies and smaller kids and of course I can not please everybody.
But I knew that this year the costumers will be at least 60% the same as last year (meaning elderly people) so I had to come up with a few ideas for them, as well. Then I came across this great idea on pinterest and when I went to Hungary in the summer I already knew that I want to use my new blue print fabrics for this bottle tote.

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For the first tote I only used a blue print fabric and nothing else.

To the second one I added a white strip of fabric and a blue zigzag ribbon.
My favorite was the third one where I used a plane blue print fabric (without any prints) and a funky yellow cotton fabric. I just loved the contrast of the colors! Finally I added the flower using applique technique (by hand). This one is the closest to my heart. And you know what? You won’t believe it: the same costumer from last year came back and bought it! I was happier to sell that one single item then all the others combined!

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But of course I made a couple more. One with beautiful leaves and one a bit more “christmasy”.

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I hope you find them nice and maybe get inspired and make one for yourself or someone for Christmas. It is really not a difficult project, it can be done under an hour. Just don’t forget to buy a good bottle of wine, too!

Invitation

My dear Readers,
I would like to invite you all and especially those who live near Aachen to our up-coming craft fair (Adventsstimmung und Hobby-Handwerkermarkt) at the Hungarian-German Friendship Club!
It will take place on the weekend: on November 28th and 29th, between 11am and 6pm.
The location is Giselastr. 5. 52066 Aachen-Burtscheid

There will be delicious Hungarian cakes and other sweets along with coffee, you can also try really good and original Goulash soup. Yum!

Seven crafters (including me) will present their creations for the guests and they can buy and take home anything they might fell in love with.
Also on Sunday, after lunch there will be live music: a cellist and a violinist will give a short Christmas concert. So if you are interested, please come and enjoy this weekend with us! I would be very happy to get to know some of you!
I know, many of you live too far away to come but don’t worry, I will come back next week with lots of pictures, so you won’t feel left out!

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This was my table last year. This time it will be a bit different, I have a few new things for our guests!

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And these amazing christmas tree decorations were made by a dear friend. Aren’t they amazing?

 

Once again: Hungarian Blue Print

You might remember a post that I wrote about a year ago, it was about the Hungarian blue print fabric and a couple of sewing projects made of blue print. I love this fabric. I love it because it is absolutely high quality and great to work with. I love the look of it. I love its colors: the white and blue but in many variations. I love it because it always reminds me of Hungary and my cultural background and heritage. I love it because I remember that my great-grandmother used to wear clothes made out of this fabric. Very traditional looking clothes. Actually I still have one of her outfits which is at least sixty years old if not more and for some reason I try to preserve it as long as I can. And I inherited old blue print fabric from her, as well and I used it to make a lovely skirt out of and I still wear it occasionally.
But I think sometimes this fabric is underrated. If you’ve ever been to Hungary, you might have seen this blue print in souvenirs shops. They would probably offer you some horrible looking apron, maybe a table cloth, a pillow or a girl’s skirt. I mean those are adorable but come on people, use your fantasy! We can do even better!

This is why I often wonder why don’t people use it for other, much more up-to-date projects? I have a long-term project in mind: I would like to make a huge quilt from blue print for our bed but I didn’t have the time to start yet. Hopefully I can report back on that in couple of months. Until then here are a few sewing ideas that I made for our up-coming craft fair in Aachen.
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My first project was this notebook cover. I sewed a couple of small pieces of different blue print together, then attached the white stripes, then I continued to make the cover as described in a previous post of mine. I love how it turned out.

Then I made lots of fabric angels for the craft fair just like last year. After all, it’s going to be a Christmas fair and last year people loved it.

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Here are a few with red fabric:

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A couple made with floral prints:

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A few more including my favorite with the yellow fabric:

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Aren’t they just cute?

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I saved the best for last: wine tote bags. I will post the tutorial and more in an other post but for now just enjoy how great they look in the blue print fabric!

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Using the yellow fabric and a plain blue print I created a bright, fun and modern wine tote. Even though I added a traditional flower mostly used in embroidery, it still looks very fresh and hip to me. Don’t you agree?

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DIY Firefighter Costume

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Halloween is around the corner, so I thought why not share my son’s latest costume with you. As I mentioned before we don’t celebrate Halloween but we do have carnival in the city where we live and we dress up in costumes but at the beginning of the year, not in October. This firefighter costume was made in February for my son and he wore it not just in the Kindergarten but on the city’s carnival and at home for many-many times. He still plays with it!

If you are looking for a cheep solution for your child’s costume and you are willing to work on it a little bit, then this is definitely something for you! Not to mention that I made this costume because all the new ones are made from polyester and my son is allergic to that fabric and I wanted him to wear something made from cotton.
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I bought the helmet, the mask and the ax but I made pretty much everything else.
I took one of his T-Shirts as a template and sewed a similar top in red. Then I taped the lines on the arms of the top with a yellow tape.
I used the same yellow tape to make his pants.
Then I took an old belt of mine, punched a few more holes onto it to fit his size. I sewed on a few hooks and even added a carabiner.
What you can see on his shoulder is a spare hose from our washing machine.
His fire extinguisher is actually made from a coke bottle with a spray top and covered with red and black tape. He can even use this and spray water with it.
And voila! Wasn’t that hard, was it?

Baby Boy Outfit

As I mentioned this before we are about to move. It’s a big change in our life and a lot of work. We have been packing for a couple of weeks now and at the end of this month we are definitely moving to the other side of the town. We decided to find an other apartment because we wanted to be closer to work and kindergarten and didn’t want to spend so much time anymore getting there.

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Many things are already in boxes including my sewing machine and crafting supplies. It was very hard for me to pack them but I try to keep in mind that it’s only for a short time. And of course ever since I am full with ideas that must wait…

We also try to have fun with the kids while packing.

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But before packing all my craft-supplies into boxes I had a “last project”, a very sweet little project: a cute outfit for our baby’s baptism. After moving we are going to spend about one week in the new place, then we are heading to Hungary for a long vacation with friends and mostly family. And while we are there, our little baby boy will have his baptism, just like his older brother had at this age.
I thought that I would like to him to have a special, kind of elegant but also cute outfit for this occasion. But he will be seven month old, so those typical white baby outfits were out of question. Especially because he is a gigantic baby…

So I went to Pinterest to search for ideas and I came across this cardigan-onesie which I fall in love with. I checked out a couple of tutorial and finally fallowed this one and Voila! This is how our version looks like:

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I wanted to keep it white but with a little punch of blue. The outfit is a bit too big for him right now but as quick as he grows it will definitely fit to him in a month. I also made a pair of shorts for him from the same fabric as the bow-tie.

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He discovered the bow-tie right away and of course took it off. I might have to sew that on.

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But I am pretty proud of my work and satisfied with his look: he is very handsome, isn’t he?

I wish you all a very nice summer and see you again sometimes in September!

Sailor outfit for summer

A couple of weeks ago I went trough my son’s wardrobe to see if he has enough summer outfits. Shorts: check. T-Shirts: check. Shorts for swimming: check. But then I had to realize that we live in Aachen. There is no real summer here, at least not every year and certainly not for three months… But we do have some days when the weather is nice enough to be outside, enjoy the sunshine, have an ice-cream or go hiking. But that requires a different kind of summer outfit: maybe a light but long pair of pants with long-arm T-Shirts. Pants. My son had only jeans and other warmer pants. This is how I came up with the idea of sewing him long but summery pants.

We are preparing our home for moving which means I don’t really have time to go downtown and shop for new summer outfits for the kids and myself. But luckily the fabric store is not far from our home.

When I went to buy fabric for this project I was a bit disappointed again: you can always find tons of printed fabrics for girls but for boys? There were maybe two or three to choose from. And it’s always like this, no matter where you are searching for fabric.

Anyway, I found this lovely blue cotton fabric with anchors on it and I made a bucket hat and a pair of pants out of it.

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I added pockets and ham using a green scrap-fabric and voila! I was never the kind who would sew outfits but times and needs change, I guess. My son loves both the hat and the pants. He calls it the “pirate hat”.

Of course by the time I was done sewing, the weather had changed and we were back to jackets and jeans… but today the sun is shining again and there is hope!

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… 🙂 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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Bonnet hats

Do you remember when I last year participated in a local street festival in Aachen called Lothringair? Well, it’s going to be organized this year again and I applied to have a booth for the second time. To be honest, I might change my mind about it this year because I am still negotiating on the price (which is three times more that it was in the previous year!) but I am already preparing new products: summer bonnet hats for little girls!
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I am in love with these. It’s too bad that I don’t have a daughter (yet). But I will definitely make two for my brother’s daughters this summer!
Bonnet HatsWhat do you think?

Baby Co-Sleeper

As we were getting ready for the new baby in the family, we decided to get him a new bed. The first reason for that was that our three-years-old son still sleeps in his crib which we changed into a small bed. We did not want to bother him with a new bed at the same time when his little brother was arriving into the family. And also because he would love to have a bunker bed with his little brother but of course he will have to wait for that a bit longer, and then they can share the kids’ room and the bed.
Until then the baby is staying with us in the master bedroom. My oldest stayed with us for five weeks and then we moved him to his own room and I was the one of course who got up many times in the night and went out to the nursery. But this is no longer an option for us: the baby is staying in our room, so we decided to try out a co-sleeper bed with him. My hopes are quiet high: I don’t want to get out of the bed and pick him out of his crib each time but we still want him to be safe. This is why we were looking for a co-sleeper bed. In Germany those beds start around 100€ if you get it second hand but the prize for a new one is around twice as much.
What I did was go online and search for a DIY option when I came across this post. I followed the links in it and with the great help of my husband and my son we created this amazing co-sleeper for our baby:

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We attached the co-sleeper to our bed to make secure. We will also purchase this thing from IKEA, cut it to the right size and put it between the two mattress, so there is absolutely no gap between the two bed. And voila! Costs of this project: bed (IKEA-SNIGLAR) 35€, mattress (IKEA-VYSSA SNOSA) 20€, mattress divider (IKEA-SIGGERUD) 8€. TOTAL COST: 63€.
Plus this bed is 120cm long, longer then the usual co-sleepers, so it will last longer and we can put back the side if we wanted any time.

In the corner of the master bedroom there is a small chest of drawers and a changing table. It is tiny and won’t be functional longer then two-three months but for us that is fine because we plan to move to a slightly bigger apartment in a couple of months and we want to use an other (bigger) changing table in the new place anyway.

DSC_0851As I said: have big hopes for this co-sleeper but I promise to share later how did it actually work out for us.

UPDATE: Our son was born on 25th of January and ever since he has been sleeping with us in his co-sleeper. So far I can say only good things about it: it is very confortable for us, especially for me! I don’t have to get out of the bed to feed him and I don’t even have to bend over to get him out of the crib (and then put him back). And this is a big plus considering that he is a gigantic baby (only 5 weeks old and already 5,2kg)! I would just slide him close to me, then brestfeed him and finally put him back to the crib. I absolutely love this co-sleeper!

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Although there is one thing that I find a bit difficult: getting into and out of the bed. I mean for me. But it’s a small prize I have to pay for beeng ablo to be so lazy with night time feedings. Actually it is so much comfortable that sometimes I feed him and fell asleep so fast, that in the morning I can’t tell my husband how many times did I feed our baby or when was the last feeding time. This co-sleeper thing really allows you to be a lazy and a good parent at the same time! Do you need more than that?

 

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…

 

New Year- New Start

Many people make new year’s resolutions, so did I last year. Mine was to try to post on this blog every week. I did not tell about it to anyone because usually when I do, things don’t work out as well as I would like to. Well, I did not achieve that goal but I think I did pretty well considering that writing a blog was completely new for me. Let me boar you with a little bit of statistics. Here is a list of my posts in 2014:

  • -January: 4
  • -February: 5
  • -March: 5
  • -April: 1
  • -May: 5
  • -June: 4
  • -July: 2
  • -August: 0
  • -September: 3
  • -October: 3
  • -November: 4
  • -December: 4

TOTAL: 40 If you take a quick look you can immediately tell that we went on vacation in August and this is something that I have to figure out and do better this year if I want to improve my blog’s stats… But the total of 40 is actually not that bad. The three most popular posts were:

  • Nr. 1: Tipps on travelling with toddlers (6440 views thanks to pinterest)
  • Nr.2: Hungarian Blue Print for Christmas (180 views)
  • Nr. 3: IKEA hack (135 views)

Which post was your favorite? I tried but can not decide which project was my favorite because each of them brings up different memories… Besides the dry statistics I would also like to mention that I changed the design of the blog and I still like the look of it. The “FabRita” or “Rita’s Design” is also on facebook and on pinterest, so there are more possible ways to keep track of my ideas and crafting activity. I would like to thank everybody who signed up to follow this blog, it means a lot to me! I have 33 readers now: some of you I know personally, some of you through comments and mails, some of you stay silent but I am very thankful to all of you! I also got a Liebster Award from a fellow blog writer and I was very surprised and honored. Thank you very much! I will try to post and share my thoughts on that a.s.a.p. The question now is that what about 2015? Well, I would definitely continue sharing my ideas but I can not guarantee that I will post as oft as I did in 2014. Why? Many of you already know why: because in 1-2 weeks we are having a baby and he will take up most of my time. At least in the first couple of months. But I love this blog and like the way of how I can connect with you, dear Readers through creativity, so I promise to write as much as I can. 10815098_10152698369024039_2128385037_o

Photo by kissadri

Last year in August I got a great camera from my husband as a B-Day present and I am reading up on baby-photography, so be prepared for some experimental baby-photos in the near future!

After Christmas…

Well, here we go: the holidays are kind of over now and I still owe you, my dear Readers a post about the Advent Calendar and other Christmas stuff. There is no excuse, I am terribly lazy with writing these days but keep in mind: there is always a next advent and Christmas when you can actually use some of these ideas!

As I wrote it in a previous post, I decided to finish the small ornaments for the advent calendar as we go and so I did. But to be honest, I was a bit disappointed because my three-years-old son lost interest in decorating his tree after about two weeks. He might enjoy it more next year. At least I hope he does.

Here are the ornaments: all 24 of them! As you can see 22 of them is hand-stitched felt. The first one is also self-made but I used air-dry clay. The last one was a present from a friend who makes the most amazing Christmas ornaments from stuff that she finds in nature (and with the help of a hot glue gun).

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My favorites are the little house, the snowman and the holy family. The drum and the penguin was kind of made for my husband who for some reason always wanted to have a penguin ornament and plays the drum.

The base with the tree looked like this:
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I attached the curtain robe to the door with tape and added wasi tape on the edges around. It was necessary to keep it from falling off but also looked much nicer with the red frame on the white door.

And finally the tree with all the ornaments:
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Do you like the it? If you want to make something similar for next Christmas keep in mind: it takes a lot of time but looks so beautiful at the end!

 

Our other holiday project was to make a fake fireplace. I am not kidding. My husband and I both love fireplaces but unfortunately don’t have one. However we did have a pallet in the garden that we no longer used and I had the idea to make a fake fireplace out of it. My husband wasn’t a big fan of this idea but he helped me anyway because he knew it was important to me. (Best husband, ever!) We used other pieces of wood, not just the ones from the pallet and a left-over fabric for the back. Wood and lights were also already on hand in the household, so the total investment wasn’t more then 6-7€ and a couple of evenings working together.

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I’m really happy how it turned out: made our tiny living room very cozy and we also had place for those Christmas-cards. We set up our tree next to it and even my husband loved it at the end.

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And our little son was playing camp-fire in it: he was grilling toy food on the fake fire… Is it really cute or just weird?

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Anyway, it’s all packed up in our basement since yesterday and we are getting ready our apartment and ourselves for the new baby’s arrival now.

Holiday Wishes

I would like to thank you all for following me this year! I do hope that I inspired lots of people and lots of projects! Keep crafting!
I wish you all the best for the up-coming holidays, no stress if possible, lot of hot-chocolate to keep you warm and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!

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Crochet bag

My Mother retired this year. My husband and I are very happy for her, she deserves it very much. In this spirit we were thinking about signing her up for a course of some kind, to help her to find a new hobby so she wouldn’t go crazy being home all the time. But of course this is something that you can not decide for an other person, it might not work or she wouldn’t like it at all. So this plan was put on hold for a while then a couple of weeks ago she mentioned me that a long-long time ago she learned how to crochet and she would like to continue. Or better to say: pick it up again and start it over. I saw the perfect opportunity when she said this: help her set up for crocheting! I asked a good friend of mine to help me with his plan because I have no idea about crocheting and she is an expert in it. So she told me where to buy the yarns and which size of needles are most commonly used. She also recommended me a great book but unfortunately I still have trouble buying it online. This is why I asked my sister to buy that book in Hungary (my Mom only speaks Hungarian) and give my mother on Christmas eve for me.

Beside the needles, yarn and book I made a crochet-bag for her just to make the set complete. Earlier,  I found  a great bag for knitters on pinterest and I figured I could make something similar for the crochet-supplies.

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The bag is quiet big, so she will be able to drag her current projects with her any time and anywhere. The bag has two handles: one short and one long: she can pull the longer one through the smaller one and wear the bag on her shoulder or hang it on a hook and get it out of the way.

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From the inside the bag has a pocket with a magnetic-button:

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I also made small pockets for the needles. I ordered two sets and still waiting for the second-one to arrive this is why half of the pockets are empty. But you can still see how great they look!

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I also added two “loops” on the side/bottom of the bag to keep the yarns even more organized if it is possible.

DSC_0735Well, this is it. I would love to hear what you think of this bag! Especially from those of you who actually crochet (or knit). I hope that my Mom will love this bag, find it useful and she will really try to pick up crocheting again.

 

I pimped my car…

It’s probably not a very “christmasy” thing to talk about but I promised in a previous post so here it is. When we were planning our big trip to France this year I was thinking about how to get our car even more comfortable for a long road-trip and I figured out a couple of things.
First I renewed the cardboard arm-support thing that I made two years ago because it was a bit worn out. Taped extra support onto the top (it was also a bit lower than the perfect size, so I definitely had to make it slightly higher) and sewed a new cover. It also has a small pocket on the side for my cell-phone because I drop it sometimes and can’t find it for hours… The old cover was actually in excellent condition but I didn’t have more of that fabric and I wanted to match it with the new add-ons. DSC_0724

Then I burned a new CD which we do every year before starting a long road trip. I know: nowadays burning a CD is very old-fashioned but this works in our ten-years old car and we are fine with it. For all the CDs we collected over the years I sewed a very practical and also great-looking CD holder. I followed this tutorial for that.  This CD holder turned out very well and we love it! Easy to reach the CDs without opening the glove compartment and putting the whole family in danger. I can only recommend it!

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My other favorite thing is the trash-bag which hangs over the transmission handle. I found somewhere a tip how to make a bag water-tight from the insidewhich makes the trashbag washable. You have to melt a few layers of plastic bags together by covering them with a thin paper and ironing them until they melt.

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Then just use this plastic-sheet as a fabric. I have used this car-trash-bag since summer almost every day when I pick up my son from the kindergarten and it is so amazing I couldn’t live without anymore!

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Beside these things I also made a bigger bag to hang over the front seat and keep food in it for the long road trip but it wasn’t as successful as I hoped. It turned out a bit too big and without a cooler system it is just not  practical enough. At least not for food. But if you have a child on board who still wears diapers, then I would recommend to make something like this to keep diapers, wipes and extra cloths in it for an easy reach. We were always looking for the diaper bag when we stopped to change the baby, somehow it always hid somewhere… Or maybe use the bag for toys, raincoats etc.

Advent Calendar Part 3.

As I mentioned in the last post, I still try to catch up with many things in my life including the advent calendar for my son. I decided to continue making the small ornaments from felt and fill the pockets up as soon as I can. I know it’s very lame but I do have an advantage this year: my son can only count up to five and so far he did not notice that a few pocket is actually empty…

When Advent started about a week ago I managed to get done 17 ornaments. I took these pictures on the first day:

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Since then I was able to make a couple more and now only four is missing. The good thing is that my days seem to be calmer and now I have a bit more time. So hopefully the whole project will be done in a few days and I can share the details with you!
Until then check out “sewchat’s” calendar on this link who was able to finish her beautiful calendar just in time for Advent and kept my spirit up by sending me supporting messages! Thanks again!

Everything is last minute…

Lately it seems like everything I do is last minute. I don’t know how did this happen but I definitely have to catch up as soon as possible. I have big hopes for December: no more working and still (almost) two months before the new baby arrives into the family. I am crossing the fingers and doing my best.
There are two things for today that I would like to share with you.

First I have an invitation for everyone who lives in Aachen or happens to be there on the weekend:

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There is a Hungarian-German Friendship Club at the Giselastße 5. (Ac-Burtscheid 52066) where a few hobby crafters will organize a small but lovely market on the up-coming weekend (29-30. November). You will find here crochet-animals for kids, paintings, Christmas decorations made out of natural materials, jewelry, knitted goods and my patchwork creations. Besides the crafts we will be offering very yummy Hungarian cakes and sweets with coffee. On Sunday there will be also great live music (Guitar and Violin) provided by two young talented man. Come, take a look and enjoy this weekend with us between 1 and 6 PM! (Both days)

The other thing that I wanted to write about this week is the Advent Calender that I have been working on. Well, it is still work in progress, to be honest. I’m afraid that it won’t be ready until Monday but I still have a couple of nights to work on it. Or maybe I shouldn’t come up with impossible ideas all the time and my life would be much easier…

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So far I have 12 tree ornaments done and 12 more to go. I might cheat with sweets and finish the project for next year or I will make the rest during Advent, as we go.

Advent Calendar Part 2.

I continued to work on the advent calendar for our son. Although December is already around the corner, I am unfortunately still not completly done with this project but there is still a little bit of time. So let me show you how far I got.

I finished the pockets with the numbers on them and they look like this:

Adventi Naptar3I started to make the tiny ornaments. I’ve completed four of them: a star, a glove, a tree-ornament and a scate.

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First I made the star: cut out a sample, cut out two pieces of felt but slightly bigger then my sample.

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I did this because later I used my sample for stuffing the star with it and this way I was able to stitch around it.

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I used the same technique for the green tree-ornament.

For the skate and gloves I cut out exactly the same size as it is on my sample, folded them into half and then sewed together. But for the glove I cut out a smaller paper-glove and stuffed the felt with it. When it was done, I also added a white felt-stripe to it to make it look more beautiful.

Adventi Naptar2For the skate I used a paper clip. Very simple, really.

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Actually my whole advent calendar project looks like this at the moment:

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“Only” twenty more ornaments to go (in two weeks)… But here is my half-done sample for you. If you want to make these ornaments, just print out the sample in A/4 format and the size should be accurate.

 

 

 

Baby car-seat blanket with tutorial

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We are expecting our next baby and he is going to be born (hopefuly not before) January. My three-year-old son was born in September which means we still have lots of warm winter-clothes for the little one but slightly in a different size, meaning bigger. So I am collecting warm babyclothing in newborn-size now. Also, our daily life-style is different now: I have to get into the car and pick up my older son from the kindergarten every single day at the same time. This got me thinking: how am I going to manage this with a newborn? It is something that many parent can manage, so I will, too. But to make it just a little bit easier, I figured out to create a couple things, like this car-seat baby blanket. It will be useful because the temperature in the house, in the car and in the kindergarten will never be really cold but on the street it might be. Yes, we used regular blankets with my first son but we also lost a couple of them. And we mostly used the stroller anyway, not the car seat…

To make this blanket, I needed a warm but not too thick fabric, so I choose the combination of fleece and cotton. I bought a 130x170cm big fleece blanket. I could have bought it as fabric, but I just didn’t have time to head to the fabric store. This way was easier for me and it only costed 3€. The other two fabric were already on hand at home.

Then I was searching online for DIY ideas but I couldn’t find anything that I liked. Or if I found something interesting, then it had no tutorial. So I came up with my own idea, made it, it turned out exactly how I wanted and now I am sharing the tutorial with you.

What you will need for one blanket:

– fleece ca. 130x150cm

– a cotton fabric of your choice for the inner side ca. 130x120cm

– an other cotton fabric for the bag-part ca. 50x50cm

I drew a “sample” or “plan” for myself and it looked something like this:

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I decided to make the rounded top but if you want to make a hoody, then make the square-kind top and at the end attache three pair of magnetic buttons.

First I took out the cover from our baby seat (maxi cosi) and layed on top of my fleece. I traced the edges and the holes with a pencil to get some idea how big this thing should be.

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In the car seat there are two sets of holes for the seat belt. Mark them both and the one down in the middle, as well!

DSC_0328Then comes the tricky part: I  just drew the whole shape following my “plan”. I folded it in half, so both sides will be the same, and then cut it out.

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Note: I could have made the bottom a bit wilder… next time.

Then I layed the leftover fabric underneath and cut around the bottom. Don’t have to cut farther then 5 cm from the corners. (Shown on the next picture)

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Then I took off the blanket and folded the leftover-halfcut fabric into half. Marked wher the top should be and then cut it.

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Now I had the two pieces I needed.

DSC_0333As the next step, I cut out the same shape from the baige cotton fabric, and the smaller fabric with the elephant pattern. I just simply layed the fleece pieces onto the cotton fabrics and cut around them.

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When I was finished with the cutting, I layed the two smaller parts onto each other, facing the right sides and then sewed just the top together. Then I turned it inside out and sewed it along the edge again.

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After that I was making a fabric-sandwich: put the cotton fabric wrong side down, then the smaller pieces facing the pattern up, then the fleece facing your markings down.

Babaules-takaro1Pin all four layers together and sew. Don’t forget to leave a gap somewhere to turn the whole thing inside out later.

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Then I made an other seam around the edge from where the bag on the bottom starts to the other end of it. I forgot to take a picture of this step but hopefuly you understand what I am trying to say. The important thing is to close the gap once the blanket is turned inside out. The good news is that your blanket is basically done. The last thing to do is to make those button-holes that you marked at the beginning. But before you do that, make sure to check if your markings are at the right place. Mine were not! I put back the car-seat together and put the blanket on top, just as we would use it. Then took a look at the seatbelt and made new markings.

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Then I rememberd, that there is somewhere a newborn addition/extension to the car seat. I was able to find it and tried the blanket out with it. I noticed that I had to make a third marking for the seatbelt-hole because it had a completely different size now. Don’t forget to do this!

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Finally I sewed the button holes for the seatbelts but only after careful measuring! And voila! The blanket was done! I am so happy with the result!

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My model was the huge teddy-bear once again. It is much bigger then a newborn (about 70-80cm) but I think you get the idea how the blanket works and looks in use.

 

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For me it was very important to have a cotton fabric inside of the blanket because my older son’s skin is sensitive to anything that is not cotton, so I had to make sure, that the little one has also cotton touching his skin, if possible. Just in case, you know.

I made some other great projects for the car that I will present in the next post. Not much baby-related but very practical things if you use your car a lot.

And at the end I still had lot of left-over fabric. My evening-project was to make a hat(again, with cotton on the inside) and a scarf for my older son. We call it the “elf-hat” and he loves it! (And as a bonus for me, I don’t have to pay an other 8-10€ for a new set of hat and scarf!)

DSC_0358What do you think of this project? I am very happy with the price. I gave only 3€ out, but with the cotton fabrics the hole blanket costs no more than 6-10€. If you buy something like this in a store or even online, you will at least have to pay 15-20€, if not more… But probably more. This sewing project took me about three hours which is not bad, I think. But my favorite  thing about this project, that I made it especialy  for our son, and that is priceless.

 

UPDATE: The blanket has been in use for six weeks now and it is really great. Here is a picture with our son (and no more teddy bear):
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Christmas tree ornament

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This tree ornament is made out of felt and is pretty easy to make and it looks very nice! Something different for sure. I would say one piece took me about 15 minutes to make. If you want to try this, use a thicker kind of felt, mine was about 3mm thick.

I cut out a 10×10 cm square and cut into it on both sides as shown on the picture below:

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Then I folded the two “wings” inside, sewed them together and added a beat.

Then I did the same thing with the other wings:

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When all the “wings” were done, I added one more bead to the bottom and a string to the top:

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And that’s it. Simple, right?

DSC_0307You can also make bigger ones and hang them on a string as room/door decoration.

 

Advent Calendar Part 1.

I will present this project in two (or maybe three) parts because it takes a long time to finish and I do hope, that someone will try to make it and finish it on time with me! I started to make an Advent calendar for my three-year-old son but my biggest concern was that he should not get chocolate every day in Advent. I hate the idea and because he does not get chocolate usually more then once a week, I had to figure out something else for him. I found many tree-decorating-kind Advent calendar on the internet but using only velcro and felt seemd a bit easy for me. Yes, for me, he might love playing with that but we will never know. So my idea was to make the 24 little pockets and fill them with even smaller tree-ornaments which he can hang on the felt-tree.

1. First I chose the basic fabric, hemed the edges and added a little loop on top for the curtain robe. The size of the finished basic is ca. 68x100cm.

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2. Then I cut out a tree form accordingly. It’s about 58cm tall and 53cm wide on the bottom. Pinned onto the baige fabric and sewed it. I also added a little pice of brown felt on the bottom for the tree trunk: I slipped it under the green felt.

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3. For the next step I hand-sewed 24 small buttons onto the tree. We will hang the ornaments on those. I think this is a great idea because the tree doesn’t look so naked at the beginning.

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4. After attaching the buttons, I also added a star to the top of the tree. For that I cut out a sample first: it was important not to cross the seam for the curtain robe. This is why the star looks a bit strange.

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First I pinned and sewed the yellow layer of felt, then the orange.

DSC_0341Then the tree was done and looked like this:

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5. Then I cut out 24 small pockets from felt again. Their size is 6,5×5,5cm. Now I am hand-stitching the numbers onto them. This step is not finished yet but take a look anyway!

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When I am finished with the pockets, I will start working on the small ornaments (to hide in the pockets and later) to hang on the tree. I will make samples for those and upload them for you! Of course, you can hide sweets in the pockets, as well. Just decide what is best for your family and get started in time!

 

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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Birthday Banner

I was invited to a friend’s birthday party but unfortunately I can’t make it, so I decided to make and send a present that she would appreciate. My friend also loves sewing and she is really good at it, this is why I thought a self-made birthday banner would be a good idea and she will most certainly love it.

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I sewed together two piece of fabric for each little flag, it is very durable. For the letters I wanted to sew on applique but I ran out of time… So instead I used a textil-marker: I had to iron the writing this way it’ll be washable and won’t disappear.

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She can later use it without the numbers, that’s why I made it into three pieces instead of just one. And of course it’s not written in English but in Hungarian and says: “Happy 30th Birthday”. I am confident, she will like it. Now I only have to get to the post office and mail it.

Hungarian Blue Print for Christmas

I know it’s only September and you might ask why am I writing about Christmas? I didn’t go crazy, just let me explain. I was invited to a crafters’ market at the beginning of this year’s advent (which btw. will take place in Aachen) and this invitation got me thinking: last year I participated in a similar but much bigger Advent market where I realized that I should had prepared more “christmasy stuff”. As you probably know that by now, my favorite thing to sew is baby blanket but it is such a big item and at these markets the smaller items sell better. So I decided to figure out a few new items to sew and if it is possible, use the traditional Hungarian blue print fabrics.
In my first attempt I tried to make a Christmas ornament following this video. The ball turned out very well and I think it looks awesome, but it took me a lot of time and material to make it. So I will probably not make more of these for the market, just not worth it. But as a present or just for our family I’ll make a couple more for sure because it is a fun and easy technique and the end-result is really beautiful.

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About a week ago I found an other great idea. The tutorial itself is not very well detailed but with a little bit of creativity and logic you can make the angel ornaments without a problem. First I wanted to use only blue print fabric for this project, as well but then I had so much fun with those cute angels, that I made a lot more of them. I hope they will sell on the market.

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How do you like the other colors?

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I found the tutorial video to my last project just a couple of days ago but I couldn’t wait to try it out. These ornaments are really easy to make, don’t take much time and they look very good. Would you try to make them? This tutorial video is really well detailed and easy to follow, I can only recommend it.

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Personalized wedding presents

As I promised in a previous post I finished two wedding presents and I am about to show you them. I already gave one of them to my friend but unfortunately the other one is still waiting for the chance to be delivered. Since it probably won’t happen before spring, I decided to post the pictures anyway.

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The idea was to make something very personal and also quilted if it possible. This is how I came up with the idea of a recipe book: the covers were quilted and I wrote a couple of my favorite recipes into the book for starters.

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As a personal touch I added the names of my friends on the front which I cross-stitched.

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The covers are washable: you can slip the books out of them and simply wash them. I thought this is absolutely necessary because it is a recipe book and of course it will get dirty and stains over all over the years.

IMGP0799Well, what are your thoughts on this project? Would you be happy if you received a recipe book like this?

 

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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Pirate bag

I don’t know how this works in other countries but when your child goes to the kindergarten in Hungary, he/she must have a bag to hang in the changing room to keep his/her extra set of clothes and other stuff in it. When I was little, all the kids in our group were provided one bag by the kindergarten: they all looked the same. Only we had our kindergarten sign on the bag. For example my sign was the “ball”, so there was a ball sewn onto my bag, and my sleeping blanket, and was drawn on my shoes, into my coat etc. It’s a good idea because we didn’t know how to read or write down our names, so we used signs instead. 800_oltozo

 

Nowadays a changing room looks something like this in Hungary. As you can see one thing has changed: the bags are all different because they aren’t provided anymore by the kindergarten, instead the parents have to buy or make them.

Our son goes to a German kindergarten and they use plastic boxes instead of the bags which also works very well. In the room they have drawers with their pictures on them and they collect their paintings and other crafty creations in those drawers.

Anyway, one of my old high school friends asked me to sew one bag for her son. They promised him that his sign can be a pirate ship but the teaches decide this and usually they use more simple signs like house, umbrella, heart, flag etc. It is clearly not the choice of the parents to make and when they realized that, they decided to get him at least a pirate themed bag. And this is where I come into the picture. My friend even sent me a picture that she found online: how the bag should look like. All right, let’s try it!

After six hours of hard work this is how the bag turned out.

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It has two big pockets on the bottom and a zipper opening on the front side. The three applique were also made by me.

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The bag has inside lining as well, and the back is simply blue.

Recently UpdatedWhen I was looking up on the internet how this bag should look like and what are its dimensions, I found out that most of these bag come as part of a set. The other part is usually a smaller “pull-string-bag”. The kids can wear those as backpacks and use it for their “gym” or “exercise” clothes. So I decided to make one of those, too. It was much easier then the big hanging bag and only take about an hour to make. (Although I still have to buy the proper string for the bag. Temporary I put shoe laces into it.)

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The “gym bag” has inner lining, as well.

IMGP0786And finally one more picture of the whole set. What do you think? I really hope that the little pirate-fan will love them!
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I’m back

I’m back from our vacation and with some news. About a month ago I started a volunteer job at the local fair trade shop (Weltladen Aachen) and so far I love it. You all know that I absolutely love sewing and creating but I was doing these things at home which also meant that I was alone a lot. It was time for me to get out there and start making contacts with people again. Besides that I had many reasons to change a little bit my life and I am happy that I did. I am learning something new and have fun at the same time.
Unfortunately this also means that you will probably read less posts from me but I definitely not giving up this blog or being creative. I couldn’t even if I wanted to because that’s a very big part of me. I hope you’ll understand it! Thank you!

And for now let me give you a sneak peak of what I am working on right now. Many of my dear friends are getting married (or they already did) and I am kind of behind with the wedding presents. I know it’s lame but I decided to take action and give everybody a nice and personalized present as they deserve it.
Two of my girlfriends are getting recipe books from me: a hard cover notebook with few of my favorite recipes, a quilted cover and with their names that I cross stitched. So far I am almost done with the names, was able to choose the fabrics and bought the notebooks.

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Of course this is not all what they are getting but this is the hand made/ personalized part of the present. What do you think? I can’t wait to show you the final recipe books!

One more baby quilt

The last piece that I sewed before the Lothringair Street Festival was a beautiful yellow and green baby quilt. It’s made from stripes so it is kind of an easy project but this time I quilted it a bit differently: with waves. I think it turned out very nicely.
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For the back side I was finally able to use that beautiful flower-printed fabric which I bought very long time ago.  I love the fresh colors and the fact that it’s unisex.

I would have been very happy if I got something like this blanket on my baby shower (if I had had one).

 

By the way a notice for all: I will go on vacation and get back to you with the results of the monthly give away sometime in July. Until then: have a great and creative time!

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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Lothringair

This week is all about the Lothringair Festival for me. I have been busy making inventory, pricing my products and getting stuff for making a booth, etc. The festival is going to take place tomorrow in Aachen, so if you are in town, come and visit me at my booth!

If you are interested, here is a link to the festival’s website: http://www.lothringair.de

Other then that I have many on-going projects that I would like to present to you soon but you have to wait a bit longer.

Have a nice weekend!

Toys for boys…

Last year, just a few weeks before Christmas I had a booth at a local craft fair which was an amazing experience for me and I learned a lot about this business. Of course I took a look at the competition and I realized something: when crafters sew for kids they usually have more stuff for the girls. It is understandable because it’s much easier to make cute clothes and accessories for girls. But I decided to look at this as a challenge and try to come up with ideas for boys. Well, it’s not easy, let me tell you this but not impossible.

The first thing was for me to buy a great boat-themed printed fabric and then I made a few things using this very nice fabric. I already presented once before the playing mat but my collection has more members, such as a portable changing mat…

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a toy storage…

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… a car seat organizer with a cup/bottle holder…

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and a notebook cover (for the book of medical records that every child has in Germany)

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Besides this boat themed collection I also made two fort kit. No, it wasn’t my idea, I saw it somewhere and thought it would be a great present for a bigger boy!

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The fort kit contains a blanket, a flashlight, clothes pins, carabiners, wooden rings, kitchen towel clips, and clothes line in a great bag.

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The third idea came from this website and I had one of those typical moments: “Why did I not think of this before?” Pirate eye patch!

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The next idea came when I was making head bands for girls: Why not make feather head bands for boys? For the feathers I used my scrap-felt fabrics. I am officially out of felt now… I hand stitched the feathers first, made the bands and then attached the feathers by hand-stitching.

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Unfortunately my son didn’t like them, so I had to ask our teddy bear to be my model again.

The next idea is kind of old. Do you remember when I made car-garage that you can hang? In case if you don’t remember here is a picture from one of them:

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So when I made these last year I thought I should make some kind of portable car-storage or bag for boys and here is what I finally came up with:

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This car-bag has seven pockets: four smaller and three bigger. Also has a road and you can fold it and roll it up and it’s ready to go!

Finally I made a truck-themed drawing set, as well.

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So far these are my “toys for boys” ideas. How do you like them?

Elephant Baby Quilt

Last week I worked on an other baby quilt. I wanted to use my newest elephant-print fabric that I found in Hungary on our last trip. I find it very cute and perfect for baby/kids projects, so I decided to make an other blanket. After a long consideration I choose a geometrical quilt pattern and I am happy with the results.

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It wasn’t a difficult project but with my very simple home sewing machine I am not able to make advanced quilts. Anyway, my elephant baby blanket is soft and cozy and kids will love it. I can’t wait until my next craft fair where I will be selling this one, too.

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The binding is hand-stitched which takes a bit longer time but considering that this blanket is only 1x1m, it wasn’t that bad. I really like the fact, that even the backside looks very neat.

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Who wouldn’t want a blanket for his kid like this?

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Busy like a bee

This time a didn’t create anything special or new, I just played a little bit with old projects like the envelope clutch or the car seat organizer. I can’t make the same thing over and over. No, it’s simply impossible for me. I have to at least use a different fabric or if needed, make the project better and better.

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I must admit that I still have difficulties with the envelope clutch but it is getting closer to perfection each time I make one.

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Which one is your favorite?

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I think my favorites are these two. I used some scarp-fabric for the outside, batting and a beautiful blue fabric for the inside. They are soft and very colorful for the summer days!Varras+Blog61 Varras+Blog62

With two more car seat organizers behind me I think I found the best solution for the cup holder which you can check out on the picture below. It’s the one on the left side with the elephants.

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Drawing Set

As you probably know I am getting ready and creating lots of stuff for an up-coming craft fair. I am focusing on kids and traveling and as my newest product I would like to present the drawing set for on the go:

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It has six small pockets for pencils on the left side and one big pocket for a notebook on the right side.

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You can fold it like a book and carry the whole set like a bag because it has handles, as well.

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I thought it would be a nice feature to have a pocket for the owner’s name on the front side, so I added something similar to what I made as luggage tags.

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It’s unfortunately not the easiest project that I’ve ever made but it is a great thing to have in your bag when you are traveling with kids. Don’t you agree?

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Monthly Give Away: April-May

Our monthly give away game is finally here! You might have noticed that this game is actually for April and May and there is a reason for that. I was out of town for couple of weeks and couldn’t take care of the game (and the blog in general). Also, there was only one person who signed up last month and she can participate in the game now.

The rules didn’t change but here is reminder:

Everyone who signs up to follow this blog automatically participates in this game! You don’t have to do anything else: you don’t have to share this post (only if you would like to) or like it etc. At the end of May I will make a list of those who signed up, throw all the names into a hat (that’s right, old fashioned way!) and draw one. Then I will publish the name here and contact the lucky winner by email.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing: the prize!

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Yesterday I came across this great tutorial and tried it out right away: an envelope clutch! I absolutely loved this project because it is not complicated at all and the result looks awesome!

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I changed one thing though: instead of a ribbon I used a magnetic button. I also added a circle on front to make the fabric even stronger around the magnetic button but I think it makes the whole clutch look better.

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Summer and vacation time is around the corner and I would use this small clutch for the passport and other important documents while traveling.

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Or afterwards keeping the pictures in it until you have time to put them into the photo-album. Or anything else, really…

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Note: the tutorial above is in German. If you want to make a clutch like this and have difficulties with reading the tutorial, just let me know and I will try to help. So this small clutch will be the prize of the monthly give away. Fingers crossed!

Car Seat Organizer 2.0

As I mentioned in the previous post, I will work on more car seat organizer in the near future because I would like to sell them on the up-coming craft fair in Aachen. While working on the second piece, I realized that something important was missing from the first car-seat organizer: a cup-holder! I added one to the next organizer which wasn’t easy, so I will have to come up with an other design for the cup-holder. This one works perfectly but it took a bit longer time to make it and I can not afford this luxury. Check out the picture of the first and second car seat organizers!

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Which one do you like better?

And here is one picture of the second organizer with more details:

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I even added pencil-holders and made the upper hole better looking by hand-stitching it. I think it functions much better then the first one, but let the kids decide!

Craft Fair in Aachen

A couple of weeks ago I was accepted to a local craft fair which will take place in Aachen on the 14th of June. I was really happy and now that we got back home from Hungary, I can focus on the work and the products I will bring to that craft fair. In this spirit I made twelve more luggage tags and two small, but really soft and cozy baby blankets.

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Is anyone interested in a tutorial on the luggage tags? They are a little bit complicated but it’s a great project and worth making them because they are very fun gift ideas for people that love travelling.

IMGP0160Unfortunately I couldn’t take better pictures of this owl-themed blanket. Sorry. It is made using fleece and cotton fabrics. Very easy project and looks fun!

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Finally a car-themed blanket, my favorite. It is really soft and small-sized, so it fits perfectly to the trolley or into the car-seat.

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I also decided to make more car-seat organizer for the bigger kids. Especially in the summer-time, when families are traveling more, it’s a very useful thing to have in the car. So, probably you will see more of those in the near future but I have also new ideas! Let’s get back to work!

 

Car seat organizer for the kids

IMGP0029In two weeks we are heading to Hungary again: a two day long road trip with our kid. It’s a lot of work in terms of preparation. Not just getting the car ready (which seems to be also my responsibility since I use the car on a daily basis) but also to get creative again and collect lots of fun activities for our two-and-a-half-years old son. Not long ago I published a post on travel activities for toddlers and I will share my new ideas and how did they work out after our trip. Until then here is something else: a car seat organizer for bigger kids. Especially for those who can sit up a bit and reach for stuff around them.

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I made this organizer for my son, but unfortunately his seat-belt does not allow him to reach so far ahead just yet. He must wait and grow a bit more before he can use this otherwise pretty cool organizer.

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It is cool because the kids can bring along more toys, book etc; there is more storage in the car, it also keeps your seat cleaner. You can take off the organizer any time and throw it in the washing machine and it also looks very nice and beautiful.

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I made a pattern for this organizer after measuring our seat in our Opel Astra. I guess more or less it would fit in any car and I promise to make more and upload them to the web-shop as soon as I can. Until then let me know what do you think of this project and how would you use it? Or would you change anything on it?

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I am very happy to share the good news with everyone that our new web-shop is finally open!

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Sorry that it took so long, we had some health-problems in the family which slowed our work down. but now everybody is fine again and nothing can stop us from going forward!

You can find the link to the web-shop on the left side of this blog. Most of the products will be familiar for my blog-readers. Thank you for stopping by and enjoy!

Easter Bunny Treat Bags

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I was thinking about the upcoming Holiday and our son as he was seeking in the church’s garden for Easter eggs last year (here in Germany): his face and eyes were so joyful! It made me come to the decision to recreate this event even though it is not a tradition in our Hungarian culture. Why not give the little ones a fun and exciting moment during this otherwise very serious Holiday? One thing led to the other and I found a great sewing project for Easter: bunny-shaped treat bags and I made a few one.

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It is really not a complicated sewing project, so if you want to give it a try, just follow the tutorial on the link above and check out the sample I created:

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You need to cut out the bag shape twice from your main fabric, and twice for the inner but for that fold it where it is indicated with dashed line because it should be a bit smaller then the actual bag. Also cut out four pieces for the ears. You might want to use some other color for the front side of the ears, it makes them more fun and better looking. The tutorial is lacking though one information: how to attach the ears to the bag. So for a little more help on this I took this photo:

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As I folded the fabric on the edge, I slipped the inner fabric and the ears under it. Careful, it was very thick (8 layers of fabric!) so use a strong needle for this stitch! But other then this little detail the above mentioned tutorial is really good, just follow all the steps! Or if you are not a very crafty person, you can order them from my new web-shop in a couple of days!

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Stuff the bags with delicious sweets and hide them in the garden for the kids! They will love it, guarantied!

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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.)

Becoming a fan of bags

Last week I was writing about a beautiful bag that I made and as soon as I finished it, I was already thinking about the next one. So I made more bags, to be exact two of them. I used fabrics that I had on hand and tried to play with the colors a little bit, this is how a yellow bow ended up on one of the bags. Very vibrant color. What do you think?

Varras+Blog51This time I wanted to add magnetic buttons to the bag because I think it is very important to have some kind of closer on it. The only problem was that we were ill again and I just couldn’t get to the store to buy them until a couple of days ago! And finally I was able to finish the bags. Actually this time it took me about six hours to sew both bags which is way better then the very first bag (it took me five hours).

Varras+Blog50The other news is that I am currently working on a new web-shop. Yes, I left DaWanda and according to my plans next week I will be able to open my own online shop where both of these bags will be available beside many other things.

Tips on travelling with toddlers

I started to write this post almost a year ago but as the good weather is approaching, I feel like it’s time to finish it and give some tips to other parents who are planning a road trip with their toddlers.

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This post is not much about getting the car itself ready but preparing ourselves for traveling with a 21 month old toddler for at least 12 hours. And our son is quiet active, likes to run around and climb on things. No, he is not a girl who can sit and play quietly alone for twenty minutes… And we are totally against the electric baby toys, or giving our child an iPad, or letting him watch a movie or something on a screen. It feels wrong and unhealthy. Plus our last long trip with him was a disaster and we don’t want that happen again. We learned the lesson and this is why I prepare as many activities for him as possible. And I am pretty sure that there are many other families who happen to travel with toddlers and hopefully they will find this post very useful. My first advise would be to prepare everything in advanced (I started 2-3 weeks before traveling), do not think that these are last minutes projects! So here is my list:

1. I found many great posts and  tips online about the “travel tray”. Yes, it’s a real thing. You can buy one or make one, as you prefer.

2. The first thing on my list is BOOKS. Bring as many books as you possibly can. Beside running around reading books is the most beloved activity of my sons’. Before the road trip I bought a couple of new books, but also hid some of his favorite books a few weeks earlier. This way he will enjoy them more on the trip when he gets those back.

3. A few new and small toys. For example this wooden block puzzle seems very interesting because our son loves building and animals, as well. IMGP7204

Or these building blocks with buttons and small doors etc. On this picture you can also see the tray that we use: a plastic tray from IKEA called ANTILOP and costs about 4€. We cut the sides a bit shorter, made holes on both sides and added a belt, this way we are able to attach the tray to the seat. IMGP7272

4. Different kinds of drawing material. IMGP7212

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5. I read that many people use a baking sheet or some kind of a metal tray so the kids can play with magnetic toys. I wasn’t really convinced with the idea because in an accident a metallic try can be very dangerous for the little one. Instead we bring along our cake sheet and he can still play with magnets. And this one has a sheep on it and I think he will also like that. IMGP7195

Note: after our road trip I must say, this was our son’s favorite activity on the road. I would highly recommend it!

6. Crafting is also a good way to keep kids busy but at this age it might be a bit difficult. Still, there are options, like cutting out different shapes out of paper, color them and punch some holes in them. With colorful pipe cleaners and strings they can try to “sew” the papers. Our son loved the shoe shape and the shoe lace but he didn’t care much for the other ones. I think he did not understand why he should pull the wires through a flower or a sun. IMGP72007. Once again, I cut out a few animals out of paper and bought a bag of google eyes. We will stick the eyes onto the animals, or just create new “monsters”, as we go along. He liked this one also very much but I had to sit with him on the back seat and do this activity together. Still better then a board or crying kid. IMGP72038. Stickers. I think there is no explanation for this one. Only that it also requires some help. IMGP72069. Puzzles. We are going to visit relatives in Hungary, relatives that we haven’t seen for months. I thought my son would enjoy some puzzle games of his little cousins. And also fire tracks and ambulance car, since he is crazy about those. So I printed out a couple of pictures, glued them onto cart board and cut them in few pieces. Voila! But you can also buy or bring along puzzles, or if you have a metallic sheet, maybe use magnetic puzzles so the little pieces don’t get lost in the car!IMGP7196 10. Pompoms and a tube to stuck the pompoms into it. He loved it and still does although he is two and a half years old now. IMGP719811. CDs with children’s music and/or audio books. I read somewhere that you could also record your own voice reading a story, or ask grandma etc.

12. As I mentioned before our son is crazy about cars and the siren. He always wants to sit in front and pretend to drive. That’s why I decided to buy a toy steering wheel for him. It did not have batteries in when we bought it and as it turns out it plays not just car-noises, but also stupid children music. And it’s loud. So I am not sure about that but the little one loves it (of course). And it might be better to hear that for hours instead of crying. We will see… IMGP7214

Note: it wasn’t that bad because our son played with it for not longer than 20 minutes. I think his and our limit is set to the same… But if you can buy a steering wheel with a volume button.

13. Don’t forget to get ready for sleeping time. Bring everything what your child is used to sleep with. And maybe an extra blanket and a special pillow that is made for car-seats, like our one in the picture. IMGP720914. We do not like to play with puppets because our son loves it and he would demand on a show for hours which is exhausting. But we have puppets and lots of finger-puppets for traveling time. The finger-puppets don’t take up much place in your bag but if you have a bit of imagination they can provide hours of fun for your child. We also take them with us when we are flying. But to keep it real fun, we don’t play with them at home and it makes the whole game more fun on the road.

IMGP720715. Print out a sheet for toy cars and bring along a couple of smaller matchboxes.

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Pack up all the different activities in zip-lock bags and store them in a bag beside your child’s seat so he or she can reach in and seek for new adventures for him/herself.

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If you liked this post then you might find my other articles about “20 toddler activities for rainy days”  or “travel binder for the kids” interesting, too!

Monthly Give Away-March

We just finished the last game and the next one is already started! The next prize will be a luggage tag that I made from Hungarian blue print fabric.

IMGP9669As I mentioned this before in other posts, this fabric is really special to me because it represents the Hungarian heritage in my work and I love to find new ways to use this traditional blue and white fabric in our modern word! (A tutorial on this luggage tag is coming soon for those who are interested in making it!)

About the game: everybody enters the game who sings up (per email) to follow Rita’s Design between 1st and 31st March 2014.

You don’t have to share this post or anything else only if you would like to. Everybody can enter the game, it does not matter which country you live in.

Good luck!