Birthday Present for Great-Grandma

Before we visited our relatives in March again, I was thinking about getting lovely personalpresents for both great grandmother in our families since they were celebrating their birthdays in a few weeks apart. My Grandma was turning 80 and I made a cake box holder for her which I will present to you very soon in an other post but first check out what we made for my Husband’s Grandmother! She turned 86 and she is still a fit and amazing woman!

DSC_2424This is a small tray made out of bamboo and we added my son’s family drawing by burning it onto the try. My son is 4,5 years old now and he made this beautiful picture short after the carnival, this is why dad (left) is dressed as an Indian, next to him you can check out me as a princess with a crown, then he drew himself and finally the little brother in the brand new stroller. As a mother I absolutely adore this picture because this was the first time he drew all four of us! I love it!

I traced the drawing from paper onto the wood with the help of a carbon paper:

DSC_2312Then I started to burn the bamboo tray along the lines:

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Grandma loved this present and I wish her many more years to come!

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The great thing about this technique is that you can transport any kind of picture or text onto wood and the possibilities to make a personal present are this way really endless! And buying a wood burner does not cost more then a couple of bucks and it is worth it!

 

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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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.

 

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.)

20 toddler activities for rainy days

When we moved to Aachen, we did not realize that it will rain so much. Friends who already lived in the city warned us but we thought that we can used to this. I know the number of the rainy days per a year are not as high as in England but close to that, so you can imagine. The first thing that we noticed that if it rains just a little bit, people don’t bother pulling up their umbrellas. They just don’t care and it was strange to me. But after a year living in Aachen one day I noticed that I don’t bother anymore either when it rains a little. It was shocking: me becoming an “Aachener”. So after all it wasn’t that bad, only in wintertime when it rains and rains and no snow for weeks… And one day my son was born who started to walk in October of course, which means he was constantly moving somewhere and our apartment was too small for him. We had to go outside every single day except when it was raining cats and dogs: then I refused. I hate rain and i rather stay inside if I can but then of course I had to come up with some ideas for my son to enjoy the time spent indoors. And I thought it would be a good idea to share this with other moms who are struggling with indoor activities. Since then my son turned two, so some of the activities are for a bit bigger kids, don’t be surprised. So here we go.

1. My son’s number one favorite activity is READING.

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I know it’s an obvious activity but I am very thankful that he loves reading and I think it’s worth mentioning.

2. If you ran out of interesting children’s book, get on the bus (or in the car) and VISIT THE LOCAL LIBRARY! Or book store. Or exchange books with other families. In our case Aachen’s children’s library has a great playing area for toddlers, where you can find building blocks, puzzles, logical games on the walls etc. beside the millions of great books. Check out your local library, they might have something similar!

3. VISIT FRIENDS who might be also stuck at home and the kids can play together. Also obvious.

4. DO THE SHOPPING together. I know sometimes it’s more like torture to go shopping with your toddler but it might be just the right thing. You know your kids the best, see what he or she is in the mood for. My son would go shopping at least twice a day. It is not that fun for me but he can still enjoy the time we spend together. When leaving for shopping sometimes I tell my son what we need to get (for example milk, something easy for him to remember) and he would tell me at the store not to forget it. Awesome, right?

5. Searching pinterest for ideas I tried a couple of things and also came up with my own ideas. One of those was DIGGING GAME: I took a big and deep tray from the kitchen, pored some rice or occasionally lentils into it and let him play with his toy excavators.

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Sometimes I would hide small toys in it and he had to collect them. Other times he just played with the kitchen tools and dishes and cooked me from the rice.

6. BUILD A CLIMBING FORT! It works only with bigger toddlers who can already climb without falling down and of course enjoy this activity. My son for example can not sit in one place any longer then three seconds only if I read for him. So for run-around-boys this is a great activity.

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Make sure that the chairs don’t flip and put some extra pillows around your fortress.

7. PAINT! But don’t just paint with brushes, get creative and paint with toy cars, marshmallows, funny-shaped pastas, forks etc.

IMGP90508. Create things with PIPE CLEANERS!

IMGP8520Or for smaller toddlers just show them how to pull the pipe cleaners through a strainer and let them try.

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9. We were getting rid of a huge desk the other day and we saved the upper part for MAKING A SLIDE. We keep it now behind the sofa just in case and whenever we are stuck at home, we just pull it out and play with it. It also functions as a slide for the toy cars.

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But be careful: don’t let the kids play with it alone! As you can see on our picture, my husband is supporting the slide with his feet otherwise it would be a dangerous toy!

10. Around Christmas your child can BUILD his/her own CHRISTMAS TREE from mega blocks and decorate it to his/her taste!

11. DRAWING BOXES!

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I bet you also have some big boxes from buying all the diapers… Well, use them! Or any other big cardboard box would work. My son loved to sit into them as he was smaller (around one year old) and I gave him crayons or markers (made for small children!) and he drew inside the box. This was a great thing to do with him because he was sitting in one place at least for ten minutes and I could do something that needed to be done, like preparing for lunch.

12. Let your child stuff SMALL TOYS INTO A BOX. I used small wooden farm animals and a wipe box. My son loved this and he asked to open the box for him and do it over and over.

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13. STICKERS. Yes, you can play with stickers even with toddlers but of course you have to help him/her peal the back off and the he/she can try to stick it alone. Use your fantasy and get different themed stickers, different sizes, and there are the puffy stickers and google eyes. With those you can even make monsters: draw funny shapes or real animals and let your child put the eye wherever he/she wants!

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I made my son a sticker-book from colored papers, so he can even draw in it.

14. GIVE your child a simple CHORE. We were cleaning shoes for St. Nicolas as a tradition and he would bring some sweets and put them into the “good children’s shoes” on December 6th. But he was over two years old when we did this together, for younger kids I would not recommand this.

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15. CLOTHES PIN AND RUBBER BANDS. Somehow it seems like a good play: pretend hanging the clothes. My son would clip the pins onto the rubber bands. I don’t exactly understand why, but this is how he plays this game. Once he and daddy even built a guitar out of rubber bands and mega blocks. Check it out, isn’t it awesome?

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16. In summer time I froze ICE CUBES WITH TOYS IN THEM and let my son melt it by hand. He sat on a towel and tried to pull out the toys. It’s definately a good game with a smaller toddler.

17. MATCHING GAME. I found this great idea somewhere on pinterest: On a large paper put random things (toys, shapes, lids, kids’ scissor etc.) and draw a line around them. Then take away the objects in a hat or bag. Let your child pick one from the bag and search for its place on the paper. At first they might just look at you how this game works. Show them a couple of times. I thought I completely failed this one because my son didn’t want to do this at all. Then we went out and when we came back he went to the paper alone and put all the objects at their places.

18. BAKING TOGETHER. Just be sure to pick a recipe that requires no egg, this way it won’t be a problem if your child eats the dough.

19. VISIT THE TRAIN STATION! We used to d o that a lot when it was raining: get on the bus, go to the local train station and just look at the trains stopping and leaving. You can also explain your child where you can buy a ticket, wave to the leaving trains etc. Our monthly bus pass allows us to travel with train within the city limits. So last weekend all three of us went to the train station and we traveled by train to the east end of the town, then to the west end of the town, then back to the main station. I know, not every city or town has a train station but if your town does, then it is definitely worth a trip! Even in rain! And we went just to look at the trains when my son was just one year old and he loved it. It is never to early for a boy to learn about trains and other vehicles. 

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20. FISHING GAME: You will need a washbasin or a bigger bowl, some magnetic toys (I took the magnet letters from the fridge), a wooden spoon and a metal object to tie it to the wooden spoon. First I took teaspoon but it was simply too difficult to fish with, then I took an L-shaped  thing. This game seemed a bit difficult for my 28 months old son but afterwards he took the “fish” to his play kitchen, baked it, put it on a plate and “ate it” with a fork and knife. So it actually worked. Not the way I was planning it, but it did work and I am happy.

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I hope you found something that you can try with your child. I would be happy if you shared your ideas with me: what worked for you the best! Thank you for stopping by!

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!

 

Plans

As I mentioned in my previous post, recently I sewed two baby-blankets using new techniques. I didn’t have pictures of the second blanket but I do now and I would like to share them with you. Unfortunately I did not take picture during the sewing process, therefore I can’t give you a step by step tutorial. But if you look very closely, you’ll see that this blanket is actually a visual illusion because I sewed only squares together. Each square has four little triangles on its side using the other color.

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Put two squares next to each other that are “negatives” or “opposite colors” and the pattern will turn out very neatly!

IMGP6954I feel like all the math-classes in school were after all worth it because finally I can use that knowledge! Yeay!

This blanket it approximately 70x140cm, so it would perfectly fit to a same sized baby bed to cover it when it’s play time and not sleep-time. For the back I used the darker, deep-red fabric.

And it’ll be for sale soon on a website, called dawanda. It’s very similar to etsy.com or meska.hu in Hungary. Anybody with a payPal account can use it. And yes, I am planning on starting a small business. This is the reason why I don’t have so much time now to write: I am busy planning and researching but hopefully soon I will be able to introduce my own online business. Fingers crossed!

Photo-box

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

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

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Paper hands

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

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

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Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hear in two days but it is still not too late to get ready and figure out something crafty. As you probably know, we live in Germany now and Thanksgiving is not a holiday hear but we will try to celebrate it in a small way anyway. Last year and before we prepared the whole traditional Thanksgiving menu and we also had guests but probably not this year.  What we absolutely love is the pumpkin pie and I am 100% sure that I will bake one again (of course from scratch because you can’t buy the canned pumpkin in Germany). And I found something really cute and funny on a blog (here): a turkey T-shirt! Plus, it was made with felt which I love so I decided that I will make a turkey T-shirt for our little son. This way we will have at least one turkey at the table…

All you need is: felt in four colors (white, black, yellow and red), needle, thread, scissors, a brown T-shirt. You can make this in any size! If you wanted you can make turkey T-shirts for all your family-members, it would be funny but we decided we will try this year with the little one and then we will see.

Cut out the shapes for the eyes, beak and that red thing over the beak which I have no idea what it’s called. Pin down everything onto the T-shirt and then sew the layers. That’s it, not very complicated and it takes about fifteen minutes. The final product is:

And the happy owner in it:

Well, what do you think?

Felt picture and mobile for the nursery

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

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

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

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

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

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Autumn decorations

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

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

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

 

More felt ornaments

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

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

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

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