Easter Projects 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Laptop Bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pull String Backpack

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

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

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

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

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

Bread Bag

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

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

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

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

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

My First (Toddler) Backpack

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

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

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

DSC_2692The top is closed by a rubber band.

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

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

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.

 

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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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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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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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.

My very first bag

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It’s all started months ago when I had a thought, that I should somehow involve my Hungarian heritage into my work. I already wrote about it once and mentioned that I will buy real hand dyed Hungarian (blue and white) fabric. And I did last summer when we were visiting relatives. Since then these fabrics sit on my shelf and I was waiting for some inspiration because I didn’t want just waist them on any project. Then I remembered that I promised my friend to make her a bag, similar to what we saw together at the biggest Festival of Folk Arts in Hungary (http://mestersegekunnepe.hu/) which takes place every August in Budapest at the Palace. The best craft fair in Hungary where really everybody gets inspired, well worth a trip!

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All I remembered about the bag that it had a big bow on front and I started to search for a tutorial because I am totally new to making bags and I had almost no experience doing it. The last bag I made was about ten years ago and it wasn’t the best one… And my friend’s request was to use blue and white Hungarian fabric. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between bags and me because I enjoyed the bag-making so much that I might try it again.

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So I found this great and detailed tutorial and I followed every step of it. Well, I did make some adjustments to it but only in choosing different fabrics or making a different pocket inside, nothing major. You can even download and print out the pattern of the pieces that needed to be cut out.

IMGP9660The whole project took about five hours from start to finish but I think for the second time it will go faster.

I feel like combining an old fashioned, hand dyed fabric with new designs is a great way to keep our cultural heritage alive. The bag has after all a modern style, it’s very fresh, practical but also reminding me of my great grandmother’s skirt that was made from a very similar fabric. She passed away many years ago but I still remember her wearing those traditional (folk) outfits. I think we can not move forward to the future without taking some traditions with us and keeping them alive. Our roots are as much important as our plans, that’s what makes us human.

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I am really interested on your thoughts on this subject, so please, don’t hesitate to share them!

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And I already have an other idea on how to use these beautiful blue and white fabrics in our modern word. So hopefully more is coming next week!