Stitching Santa 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hair Accessories Organizer

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

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

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

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

Nativity Banner

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

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

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

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

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

Nativity Applique Pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dsc_4144And the same trick already marked on the other fabric:

dsc_4284This is how it should look before starting to sew:

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

Merry Christmas!

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

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

nativity scene

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

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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.

owl ornament

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

owl ornamentSee you next year!

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.

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. ┬áAnd 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.

Bortaska

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!

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.
U-Heft

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!

Bortaska

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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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 6-7ÔéČ 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.

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.

 

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:

Adventi Naptar4

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:

udf_advent_Fleyer 2014

There is a Hungarian-German Friendship Club at the Giselast├če 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.

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!

Adventi Naptar

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”!

Papiert├╝te4STEP 8: Tape the bottom and then slide out the box. You won’t need it anymore.

Papiert├╝te5STEP 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!

Papiert├╝te6STEP 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.

Papiert├╝te7STEP 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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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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Snowman pizza

Most families have their own cooking traditions for Christmas or around the Holidays and good food can certainly make this time even more special. Staying home with kids for the Holidays is a different question. They might not like the”traditional” Christmas meals or after a couple of days they just want their pizza again. To spice it up a little bit make them snowman pizza!

IMGP8968In our case we made this pizza to get our son into the “Holiday-mood” because the weather is surprisingly warm this year, a bit even sunny and no snow at all. Well, he did not appreciate it as much as I hoped but he was happy ho have pizza as lunch for sure.

 

Betlehem applique

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IMGP8940Already shaping up, right?

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

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

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

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Nikolausmarkt

I am getting very nervous and excited about the up-coming “Nikolausmarkt” here in Aachen, where I will be selling my little creations for the very first time! This is going to be a double test for me: test of my German knowledge and of course test of my products. As I mentioned before, from January I plan to open an online shop and this market will definately help me to decide which products are sellable and which aren’t.

Please, let me show you a couple of things that I made for this market:

1. The newest pictures sewed from fabric and felt:

Varras+Blog182. Mug and mug sleeve made from felt:

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3. Hand stitched pictures made by my Mom (framed by me):

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4. A recycled throwpillow with air plane theme:

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5. Folders with covers:

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6. And finally my monster: a cover blanket for double bed. I worked on this for weeks and learned a lot doing so.

Varras+Blog17 The Nikolausmarkt (crafters market) will take place in Aachen, Marienhospital (in Burtscheid) between the 6th and 8th of December. Friday 4:00-8:00pm, on Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-8:00pm. There will be good food, drinks, concerts and of course the crafters! Come and have a great time!

 

Photo-box

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

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

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Paper hands

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

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

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Pillowcase for Christmas season

I sewed this pillowcase in an hour, it was fest and fun and it certainly looks great on the couch in the Christmas season.

First I cut out the shapes (heart, pine-tree, star): I used my cookie cutters for pattern. From the red fabric I cut out a little smaller shapes, from the white felt I cut out a little bigger ones. Then I measured the green squares: they should be a bit bigger then the heart/tree/star but not wider then your pillowcase!

Next I pinned down the shapes onto the green squares and sewed them, after that I pinned the squares onto the pillow case fabric (only front) and sewed them.

 

Finally I made the pillow case itself and also put a little label on the side and a button on the back. What do you think?

 

Matching game

I created this matching game out of baby food jar lids. Yes, baby food jars again! The original color of the lids were red, which you can see on the side of the lids. I glued red paper on top and Christmas themed pictures on the inside: eight pairs, 16 pieces. I found the pictures on the internet, they are originally made for gift-tags. I think it’s a great game and you can play with it after the Christmas dinner with your family. I probably will!

Re-re-purposed…

In my babyfood-jar collection I had a few brown jars and I had a good idea how to use them a long time ago. So I thought. I painted the letters ‘N-O-E-L’ on the jars using a white permanent marker and I was going to use the four jars as candle holders in the window during the holidays.

Well, let’s face it, my idea failed. At least I think it did, I did not like what I saw but then I got thinking and finally came up with a better solution for the jars: I am going to use them as small vases. And probably they will even look better with white flowers. After all, it’s not so bad.

 

Autumn decorations

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

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

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

 

More felt ornaments

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

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

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

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