A dream come true

One of my favorite writers is Gerald Durrell who was an amazing zoologist, founder of the word famous Jersey Zoo and he also had excellent humor. I read many of his books and I loved them all, so when I heard that a new TV-series is coming out in 2016 based on his books, I became very excited. Plus I also love historical movies and this series is kind of like those.
We watched both seasons (2016, 2017) with my husband and just loved it. I am usually sceptical to watch movies based on books that I read before and loved them because the movies are often disappointing but luckily not The Durrells. I loved every minute of the series!
And of course I fell in love with Mrs. Durrell clothes… I couldn’t help it. Does this happen to other sewists, too, that you see a dress on TV and you just have to make it? What I fell in love with this time were a pair of pants worn by Mrs. Durrell several times.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a picture of these particular pants but instead check out this article on her custumes throughout the series!

First I searched for a good pattern online but I couldn’t find one, so I went to my local fabric shop and came home with the Burda style 6573 pattern and made these pants for myself:

Although I had problems with the pattern, I was so determined to make the pants that after some alteration I was finally able to finish my dream pants. From dreaming of it and actually wearing them, it took about eight months but I am so happy when I am wearing these pants that all efforts and waiting and planning was worth it! I just love these pants.

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End of Summer

I had a very busy August. I know it’s already October but I am a little behind with my posts, so please excuse this little delay! You’ll soon understand why is that and hopefully it’ll be worth the waiting!
So let’s get back to my end of summer projects! One of them was to create goodbye presents to my son’s kindergarten teachers since he was going to leave and start his new adventures in school. I wasn’t going to just buy a gift card or something meaningless because first of all it’s not who we are. My sister, my in-laws work with kids, even my mom did before retirement, so I have a little understanding what it actually means. Second of all, our son was very lucky and had really amazing teaches in his group (even if he didn’t always understood that) and they truly deserved a personalized present. I don’t mean to order something off the internet and add their name to it which would be also thoughtful but still not what I had in mind.

First I came up with the idea of making similar key holders. After that I asked my son to make something out of (air dry) clay and he choose to create hearts. He even painted them! Aren’t they just lovely?

Then I got a package of Merci chocolate for each teacher and one of my friend recommended a print out template in German which we were able to cut and glue to each chocolate bar. They said like: “thanks for tying my shoes” or “thanks for all the hugs” or “thanks for encouraging me” etc.  It took a long time to glue each chocolate bar but my husband helped a lot! Then we hid a picture of our son under the chocolate.

What I also made is zipper pouches for all the teachers and two cases for glasses for the two teachers who wears them.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of them but the other colleges, the cleaning lady and the directors received heart shaped ginger breads. It’s a traditional Hungarian recipe and I just love to make them because they are so delicious!
I think people will think I went way overboard and I am crazy. Maybe they are right. I might not be able to do the same for our little one or later in school but this is what I think is right and I do believe that we should care a little more for those who nurture our kids because they do a tremendous job!

Green summer skirt

As real summer finally arrived in Aachen too, I went through my wardrobe to see what kind of outfits do I have to wear on those rear hot days and what I discovered is that I have only one long summer skirt. I bought that one about ten years ago in a second hand shop when I was a student and I still love it and wear it with joy. So I thought why not make an other one in a different color? I even bought the same kind of linen fabric to make the skirt and guess which color I chose? Green of course, I love green!

But this time I choose a very bright green because this is going to be a summer skirt and should be bright! Right?

I just laid out the skirt on the fabric and cut around it, I thought it should be fine but it wasn’t…

It wasn’t because I forgot toconsider the direction of the grain and the skirt turned out to be too tight. I almost gave up but then I decided to cut the back side in the middle and make it wider. I’m so glad I did! Very amateur mistake, I must admit but after all it turned out just fine.

To the waist I added an elastic band and a pull string-just like the original skirt. They make the skirt really comfortable.

And the ruffles on the bottom? Aren’t they just lovely? I think they make the skirt look rather elegant, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to wear this summer skirt! Only the weather had turned quiet cold here since I finished the skirt but I do not worry. I hope I will be able to wear it at least ten years long, just like the original one! Lucky me, I have a second amazing long skirts for the summer and it really didn’t take much time to sew it! 🙂

A New Chapter In My Life

I am happy to tell you that I had my first teaching experience as a sewist and it was great! But let me start from the beginning!

With two other Hungarian mothers we started a crafting group for kids. It is very new on the horizon, we only had three lessons so far but it is going very well! Our leader is also an artist: she is a great painter and she had this idea to create a group where we get together every week in order to teach our kids new skills or a crafting technique meanwhile they also practice their mother tongue. After a couple of months of preparation we started three weeks ago and we gathered eleven kids right away! We (the three mothers) take turns in teaching the kids: first was our leader responsible for the lesson, then I was up and I choose to start teaching the kids very basic sewing!
We start our lessons each week with a fairy tale related to what we are going to create. My idea was to sew a cloud pillow from felt, so I looked up a native American story about a monster who ate all the clouds and was defeated by a brave young boy. Finally the rain came, he saved his people and they weren’t starving anymore.
I had to figure out how this project was going to work for various ages because in our group the kids are from age 2 to 11 years old. It is a huge difference, right? I stitched the face of each cloud in advanced. For the little ones I cut out the shape and punched holes into the fabric for the needle to go through. The older kids had to cut out the pattern by themselves. Some of them were already good with the scissors but not old enough to handle a real needle so their fabric was punched as well and they continued like the little kids.


I even made them “kid friendly needles” from pipe cleaners. They were a big hit which is no wonder because they are fluffy, colorful and easier to work with for those little fingers!

But the kids age 5+ all got a bigger sized needle and they sewed along the edge very nicely. We helped them by marking the fabric where the needle should go through next.

Fifteen kids attended my lesson which is a lot but thank God the parents were there to help their kids. The kids were amazing and they all finished in the 50 Minutes we got! I was very proud of them!

I enjoyed teaching the kids so much that I can’t wait until the next lesson! I already know what the next project will be! Stay tuned! 😉

PS: Finally I got to use the beautiful zipper pouch from my Stitching Santa and the needle holder! Have you noticed them? 😉

Teaching My Kid to Sew

My five-year-old son started to learn sewing and I am very happy about it! He is always interested in his father’s job what I can understand: he works in a lab where he sometimes takes our son to and they check out cool stuff under the microscope. What little boy wouldn’t love that, right? I can totally understand his enthusiasm and this is why I was really happy when he asked if he could try out my sewing machine. I have something cool, too! But before I let him try that out I encouraged him to try sewing by hand.

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He did not love it as much because the progress is slow but he finished a few projects and I am extremely proud of him! When he finishes something by hand I let him on the sewing machine as a reward. His first project was the heart on the black paper where I punched the holes prior to his sewing: I made it very easy for him so he could have a quick successful project and would hopefully want an other one. And so he did. The next was the heart from felt: isn’t he adorable showing proudly his work?

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Then we tried some buttons: the button tree on the right bottom picture is actually our inspiration from the Internet but he made a very similar one. I shipped it to his great grandma for Christmas and forgot to take a picture but you get the idea. After that he made a “maze” with the sewing machine. He really enjoyed that particular project. I put a bucket upside down under the sewing desk and put the pedal on top of that because his legs aren’t long enough to reach the floor if he is sitting on the chair properly. It was fun for both of us. But also difficult for me because I needed to remind myself that his work doesn’t have to be perfect, he just needs to have fun right now. It was so difficult to keep my hands away and not to correct every little mistake he made. But I think he is a quick learner and he still shows interest which is great!

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Our current project is a sleeping bag for his dragon. My son sleeps with a stuffed dragon and he always tucks it into his own sleeping bag, right over his chest which is getting uncomfortable for him. Although the dragon is my son’s best buddy he certainly needs his own sleeping bag. We started the project by machine sewing and it went really well and my son enjoyed the fact that it went so quickly! But now I told him to hand stitch the sides which slowed the project down very much. When he is in the mood (not very often), he says he would do 5 stitches then he puts it away again. Progress is slow but we surely will get to the end eventually.
The funny thing is that now he thinks that I have some kind of superpower and tells me to make him a REAL astronaut suit or just simply sew him “furniture for his aircraft” what he is going to build. I told him that I’ll do that when the aircraft is ready… 😀 Sewing IS a superpower!

Do you remember what was your first sewing project or what did you teach to your little one?

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!

Cat Skirt

My nice had recently her 5th birthday and even though they live in an other country, I thought that she would appreciate a little present from us. Sadly I don’t know her very well because they live so far but then I thought a little girl could never resist a new skirt! She also likes animals, so let’s combine this two information! This is how I came up with the idea of the “cat skirt”, as I call it.

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I found just enough blue fabric for the skirt in my stash, a deep green stretchy fabric for the waist and a matching green cotton fabric for the cat-ears and for the bottom of the skirt. I didn’t even have to get out of the house and I had everything at hand what I needed. Isn’t that just great?
macskaszoknyaFirst I sewed on the green bottom and a black rick rack which will match perfectly with the eyes and noses of the cats.

dsc_4193The next step was to make the two pockets: hand-stitching the mouth, nose and the button-eyes.

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Then I added the ears by using applique technique, and only then the cat-pockets. After that I sewed together the whole skirt and attached the waist.

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The final step was to hand stitch the whiskers which was tricky and of course I sewed the pocket to the skirt once while making the whiskers. But I kept my calm and reached for the seam rippers…

dsc_4190I cross my fingers and hope that the skirt will actually fit her and she will like it! I made this skirt with so much love and I think it turned out very cute.

Kitchen Towels

Ever since we have our own house hold, I was never satisfied with the quality of my kitchen towels because they were never enough absorbing. I actually have only one towel which I liked. I was always on a hunt for good towels but when I found a good quality towel it usually costs a lot. So instead of buying a highly priced towel, once again, I decided to make my own kitchen towels.
I kind of have a wired system for my kitchen towels: I always have three towels in use. One is for hand drying, one is for drying clean dishes (this is what I needed to sew) and one is  for everything else (wiping up stains from the kitchen counters, using them as a bib for the kids  etc.) . And the towels should match in color, too! I realize now that I might have OCD issues…

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Anyway, I went to our local fabric store and asked for help because I wasn’t able to choose a good absorbent fabric alone. The lady who works in the store always gave me good advice, so I trust her when it comes to fabric or sewing related problems. I bought the fabric she recommended, took it home, washed it, then sewed four kitchen towels from it.

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I wanted to try out a new thing, that I have never done before: it’s called “prairie points”. It’s a popular technique for finishing quilt edges and they look very lovely but since I’ve never done it before, I wanted to try it first on a smaller project. And it was a lot easier then I guessed. I just followed this great tutorial and the towel turned out very lovely, look!

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When I finished this project, I was very happy because my kitchen towel sets were finally complete but to be honest, this fabric is not at all more absorbent then the others I had. Quiet disappointing but I guess, this happens to all of us. We try our best to make our projects perfect but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Now I spent 12 € on fabric and my time on a project that looks amazing but doesn’t bring the quality I was hoping for.
Has this happened to any of you before that you only realized that your work is not good enough when you were done with it?

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Anyway, we can still use these towels in the household but I will keep hunting for the perfect kitchen towels until I find them. And I am willing to pay the pries for it…

New PJs

There were a few reasons why I decided to make new PJs for my Husband and myself. For example I just throw one of his PJ pant into the garbage because they were totally worn out and he had only one pair left. The other reason was that we celebrated our wedding anniversary this month: only the 9th but I still wanted to make something for us at last, not always for the kids. The third and last reason was that I joined The Monthly Stitch and the challenge for September was called “nighty night”. When I read this finally came to the decision to make matching PJs for us.

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When I visited our local fabric store, I found this incredible blue fabric which was perfect for this project. The bonus was when I paid, the cashier told me it was made not far from Aachen: there is a fabric manufacture called Westfalenstoffe in Münster. I heard briefly about them in the past but I only checked out their website now and they have amazing stuff!
For the pattern I just traced our existing PJs and sketched the pattern myself, it wasn’t really a complicated project.
pizsamanadragok-002My Husband requested one side pocket but I added an extra back pocket just for the splash of the color. I also ended up making the waist from the same red fabric, I think the pants look really fun and my Husband is happy with them.

pizsamanadragok-001My pants have a bit different style: shorter legs, trim abound the bottom edges from the red fabric.
pizsamanadragokI also added four pockets (2 side and 2 back pocket) and a heart shaped applique on front. My Son Nr.1. found the heart applique so nice, that now he wants to have one on his PJs. Isn’t he adorable?
Anyway, we both love our new PJs and I decided that the next time we need new ones, I will most definitely sew them as well. Not just because it was so much fun and I loved to personalize them, but also because they cost about the same as the store-bought PJs. So why not make them unique?

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.

Jersey: an other milestone

During my sewing adventures I have tried out a couple of things but I stayed afraid of working with jersey. Until now because last weekend there was a huge fabric market in town and I was able to buy some lovely fabric including jersey with a boyish pattern.Check out what I got:DSC_3961The blue and green prints with ancores are yet a mystery because I don’t know what am I going to do with them but I just loved their color and I will let inspiration come to me whenever. The fabric with the firetruck will of course be a bag for my older son who is absolutely in love with firetrucks and firefighters. The floral prints are for me but again, I will have to wait for the inspiration. The stash on the right will eventually be a messenger bag for my Husband and the jersey in the middle was meant to be T-shirts for the boys.

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So I had to just suck it up, do the research and try it and after all, it did go better then I expected it would. I had some difficulties choosing the right stitch though but I figured it out.

DSC_3962Here are a couple of closer pictures of the sleeve and the neck line.

I know these T-shirts aren’t genial or something new on the horizon of dressmaking but it was a big step for me and I might just try an other jersey project because this one went so well!

 

Travel Bags For Your Underwear

A couple months ago we had a four-day-long trip in a national park South of Aachen. Because it was such a short trip, we only took a very large suitcase with us and I packed into that for the four of us. Besides that we took a couple of backpacks but the point is that all of our clothes were in that one suitcase. Yes, it was big enough  but the smaller items like panties and socks got lost all the time and I had to go through the whole suitcase to find a sock every single morning. It was a bit annoying and it made me thinking: how could I minimize the mess? This was when I came up with the idea of personalized bag for the underwear. Each of us should have one bag, maybe even with some kind of name tag on it and it would be a lot easier to find what we are looking for.
In a month or so we will be traveling again and I wanted to take action before that and yesterday the bags were finished! Let me show you what I came up with!

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With two boys and a Husband in the family you can probably guess which bag is mine. The largest! And not just because my name is on it but also because I’ve got bras and a few more delicate pieces to store in that travel bag.

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The name tags were made by cross stitching which is one of my favorite techniques. I learned cross stitching in elementary school and I love it ever since.

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I also added a soft cotton inner linen and a draw string to close the bags.

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We are now a little more prepared for our next trip and each time we travel we get better. It is stressful enough to travel with kids, let it be a long road trip or a flight, it doesn’t matter. Your nerves will be put to a test anyway and these little tricks might help you to survive.

Wool skirt

The time has come and my little one will start the kindergarten in August which also means that I have to start searching for a job. In the spirit of the new beginning I decided to update my wardrobe a little bit because in the last five years I only wore jeans and casual outfits (except for some special occasions of course). I really needed at least a couple of nicer outfits for interviews and such, so I went shopping but I returned a little disappointed. I found a few pieces that I absolutely love but I wished there was something more for my taste and budget. Isn’t this always the case: the budget and taste never fits? Anyway, I decided to start making those desired clothes, at least try because as you know I have never taken sewing lessons of any kind and I have very little idea about tailoring and sewing clothes that actually fit!
Then I found this wonderful and elegant skirt on the Vogue’s website:

Martin_Grant_06_1366You can find the original picture here.
This was my inspiration for my skirt. I choose a slightly darker gray, wool fabric, looked up a few sewing instructions for similar skirts. I even added pockets and a belt. And this was the first time I used a zipper foot on my sewing machine. It came with the sewing machine when I bought it about six years ago but I had no clue what it was for. Can you believe it? The zipper turned out much better then I expected but there is still room for some improvement. The model (me) and the quality of the picture is unfortunately not as good as it is in Vogue but the skirt is pretty close, isn’t it?

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When I started this project it was still April and I thought I must be crazy to sew a wool skirt when summer is around the corner but when the skirt was actually finished, the temperature dropped to 5 Celsius degree and I didn’t feel so bad after all. And summer is never that great in Aachen and fall will eventually come, so no more worries about that!

DSC_3127Here is a closer picture of the bow. I absolutely love it, so cute!

DSC_3125I might sew a red belt, as well because I often wear red T-shirts, shoes and tops and they would go very well with this dark grey skirt, don’t you think?

DSC_3124This is my favorite picture: details of the pocket.
Well, I am pretty satisfied with the end-result of my first serious outfit. I know it is not a complicated pattern but I had to start somewhere, right?

DSC_3122Here is one more picture with a blue belt and top. Not so elegant but still lovely in my opinion. I will definitely try the red variation!

And I have to thank to my Husband for the pictures! What are you thought on this skirt? What was your first serious outfit project?

UPDATE: I did try out the skirt with red accessories and a red jacket and I loved it! I got carried away a little and tried a yellow version, as well. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in a comment! 😉

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Pot or Casserole Carrier

This sewing project was made for my Grandma’s 80th birthday a couple of weeks ago and as I promised, here I am with the details and pictures of it. My uncle lives with my Grandma and he gave me the diameters of the plastic box which my Grandma uses to carry cakes and other sweets to parties. This box has no handles on it and this is why I thought a carrier for it should be a good present to her birthday. And with my uncle’s help it could even be a surprise for my Grandma.

But this also meant that I did not have the box while making the carrier, so I used a similar sized cardboard box in the process as my template. The inspiration was this beautiful green casserole carrier with wooden spoon handles but of course I had to make my own pattern after the measurements I received.

DSC_2116First I sprayed together the layers for quilting. I was only able to sew strait lines because my sewing machine can’t have free motion quilting foot (it’s a basic household model). Very unfortunate… Anyway, I managed to quilt it like this:

DSC_2128I left out the middle panel because after sewing together the two pieces I wanted to quilt them together. They became later the bottom of the cake box carrier. But before that I added a blue bias tape to the edges. Did you notice that the fabric patterns are the same but in two different color?

DSC_2133Then I realized that the hole thing was brighter then my wooden spoons, so I had to get the seam ripper and make some adjustments.

DSC_2136Finally it looked ok and the size was right.

DSC_2138I had to hand-stitch the loops because my poor sewing machine couldn’t handle so many layers but they look fine even from the inside:DSC_2245I finished the loops for the wooden spoons, then quilted the two pieces together as I mentioned before.

DSC_2238This is how it turned out from both sides:

DSC_2243Take a look at it from the right side:

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The finishing step was to add the velcro and voila!

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Please, note that the box on the pictures is slightly bigger that the actual plastic box and the carrier in reality fits just perfectly! (Sorry, no pictures though…)

DSC_2240What are your thoughts on this cake/pot carrier?

DSC_2239I liked this project because it wasn’t too difficult, it looks lovely with its cheerful colors and not at last, it is practical. I hate things with no purpose but this one will hopefully help my Grandma for many more years to carry her delicious cakes!

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!

DIY Dragon Costume

The idea, to make a dragon costume for our one year old son, came from his big brother (4,5). He was going to be a knight for carnival and I guess he needed a dragon that he could defeat. But at the same time he got a new book about a dragon who is called “Süsü” in Hungarian. He is the main character of a puppet show, very famous in Hungary and everybody loves Süsü.

His story goes like this:

He lives in dragonland with his parents who are the king and queen there. The dragons in dragonland are dangerous and mean creatures except Süsü: he is kind and loving. One time he event tries to cure the wounded enemy of his father and because of that he is forced to leave dragonland. After leaving, he is chasing butterflies and searching for his favorite food (wild pears) and meats a prince. They become very good friends and their exciting and sweet adventure goes on.

Here is the intro of the puppet show:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07MZjctmv7A

So after all, we decided to make a costume for our son nr2. just like Süsü. Check out how I made it!

Last year I made a few very cute bonnet hats and I wanted to combine that pattern with a sweater and make a hoody. So I started this project with the hood and added the dragon-ears to the seam.

DSC_1825Cutting out the parts: I added a 3cm wide collar, so I could attach the hood later to the sweater.

DSC_1831When I turned the hood inside out, it looked like this:

DSC_1838As you can see, I sewed one more seam on the right side with a 1cm seam allowance to make the hood look even more beautiful.

Then I made the head of the dragon separately and I attached it later to the hood by hand-stitching.

DSC_1835These two green pieces were cut out for  the head and the white ones for the teeth. (For which I used felt)

DSC_1839Then I used some white cotton fabric, batting and unused bobbins to make the eyes of the dragon:

DSC_1865Finished them up with black felt and more green fleece around the eyes and finally attached them to the head like this:

DSC_1866When the eyes were done, I hand-stitched again the nose and some yellow felt to make his hear:

DSC_1867When its face was done, I pinned together the two green fleece right sides facing together with the teeth and sewed them together but not completely:

DSC_1868I left a hole on the back of the head so I could turn it inside out and to add the filling:

DSC_1874After stuffing the head with the filling, I closed the seams on the back once again by hand-stitching it. As the head of Süsü was done, I only needed to attach it to the hood! But first I made the sweater. For that I used one of his existing hoody as pattern. I added a short zipper on front and a couple of yellow and green dots on the back and sides:

DSC_2014Adding those dots was pretty time-consuming but it was worth the effort at the end! There was one more thing missing: the wings! I had beautiful dark green felt left from my advent calendar project and I was glad to use it again! I added those yellow seams to make the wings look like the original ones and they turned out to be very beautiful!

DSC_2016The hoody was done so I added the head of the dragon on top of the hood:

DSC_2194And here is the back:

DSC_2192I was already very happy with what I had done but I did not stop here because I made matching pants and even a dragon tail which had a belt with velcro on it:

DSC_2195And when this one week project was done, I realized that my son is going to wear it only for a couple of hours but if you take a look at him, you’ll most likely agree with me when I say: It was totally worth it!

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DSC_2057He was so cute in this dragon costume! When he first tried it on, he started to chase his tail like a dog, it was hilarious…

And here is one more picture with his dad, the king:

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Thanks for the picture to kissadri!

What do you think? Do you celebrate carnival in your country or do you rather dress up for Halloween? What was you favorite costume so far? Mine were definitely these!

 

DIY Knight Costume

Carnival season is already over but I promised you to show how our diy costumes turned out. Today I’m going to share pictures and a step-by-step description of my older son’s knight costume.
As some of you might remember, last year he was totally crazy about firefighters, so I had to make him a firefighter costume. This year was more about knights and his wish was of course a knight costume. But he can be quiet picky sometimes and he usually knows exactly what he wants, so I sat down with him one day at the computer to check out costumes online and to gather ideas. Finally I made a drawing of a knight looking how he imagined it and he even wanted to color the picture. While we were searching, he had the idea, that his little brother could be a dragon, my husband the king and I could be the princess. “All right then, let’s make four costume instead of just one…”-that was my first thought.

Anyway, I said yes and the next step was to buy all the fabric we needed. I think I did not spend more then 50€ for all four costumes which I consider a good price. Although I spent hours (if not days) making them all and at the end my mother sent me two old dresses of mine for my princess costume because I didn’t have the time to make a new dress.
Back to the knight costume. I started with a cotton long sleeved T-Shirt: I added some shiny fabric to the sleeves to make it look like an armor.

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I made the pattern for it using the same T-Shirt: I cut out the fabric 2cm bigger on all sides in order to have enough room for the seams. The T-Shirt looked like this:

DSC_1795For the next step I was going to make the knight’s vest or top. I was using a plain grey cotton fabric and this is how I made the armholes and the neckline:

DSC_1798I cut out the hole for the head and neck.

DSC_1801Then I cut out the armholes and a 3cm wide piece in the same shape (twice, for both sides).

DSC_1804I sewed those on, facing the right sides, turned inside out and added one more seam which is visible on the right side. Finally I made a bias for the neckline.

DSC_1807Then I made a cardboard sample for the red bottom line and cut out four pieces from a plane red cotton fabric.

DSC_1810I took two of them and sewed together along the edges. Then turned it inside out and made one more seam on the right side, as well.

DSC_1815I repeated this step with the other two pieces, then press ironed both.

As the next step, I sewed them onto the bottom of the vest, sewed together the sides and I added one more golden ribbon to it, to make it look even more beautiful. So far the T-Shirt and the vest were done.

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For the “neck-protecting piece” (does anyone know what’s it called?) I used the same silver fabric that I used for the sleeves and a white jersey for the inside. This is how I made the pattern:

DSC_1818I made two of them, then sewed them together on one side and used velcro on the other side.

DSC_1819Using one of his pants as a pattern, I made a new pair from an other shiny silver fabric:

DSC_1821I used rubber band for the waist, made the pants a bit longer and added the same golden ribbon to the bottom.

And with this, my job was actually done because I made a cool knight cape for him last year which he wanted to wear with this costume, he had a plastic helmet (his dad bought it for him last summer), and of course he already had a shield (also made by me using cardboard) and a belt.

DSC_1858I think he looks total bad-ass in his costume, very cool.

DSC_1856Here is a closer picture of the belt with the sword-holder:

DSC_1862One more thing: did you notice the castle in the background? When we moved in my son got a loft bed which he loves! The bed is quiet big and there is lot of space underneath for playing or for toy-storage. After moving in we had lots of empty boxes and I used some of them to make a castle under his bed. The walls run on two sides, I added a few windows and the gate is made out of duck-tape. If you are interested in the details how I made it, please leave a comment.

I had enough left over fabric to make a similar vest for the king (my husband) and using yellow felt and a little velcro he also got his crown! Here we are with the little dragon: me in the blond wig and my proud king! (The description of the little one’s dragon costume is coming soon!)

12628440_10153606492274039_425936819598706097_o(Thanks for the picture kissadri!)

But back to the knight costume, what do you think? Do you celebrate carnival or dress up at Halloween? And do you prefer to buy or make your own costume? I think I would always make my/our costumes because the whole process from the idea to finishing it gives me great pleasure, perhaps as much as wearing it.

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.

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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.

DIY Wine Tote

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

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

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

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

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

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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Baby Boy Outfit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Baby car-seat blanket with tutorial

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

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

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

What you will need for one blanket:

– fleece ca. 130x150cm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Now I had the two pieces I needed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Karacsonyi cuccok

 

Personalized wedding presents

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

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

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

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

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

 

One more baby quilt

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

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

 

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

Toys for boys…

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

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

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a toy storage…

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

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

IMGP0290Which one is your favorite?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elephant Baby Quilt

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

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

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

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

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Busy like a bee

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

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

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Which one is your favorite?

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

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

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Drawing Set

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

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

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

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

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

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Monthly Give Away: April-May

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

The rules didn’t change but here is reminder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Car Seat Organizer 2.0

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

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Which one do you like better?

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

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

Craft Fair in Aachen

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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!

 

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!

 

Fabric baskets

I tried to make fabric baskets previously but I couldn’t really say that I succeeded. Until now! And thanks to a great tutorial on THIS site.

So I made these three fabric baskets in about one and a half hours but after the first basket it’s gotten much easier.

IMGP8805The good thing about fabric baskets that you can find many purpuses to use them. Let me show you two. This way they keep things organized on your baby’s changing table:

IMGP8804(great giftidea for baby showers!)

Or later you can use them as toy storage like here:

IMGP8807Or you can use them in the bathroom, for storing craft supplies etc. You can also make bigger ones for ex. throwing your magazines into it. Or for Christmas or birthdays for using them instead of paper gift wraps. Reusable, washable, practical, good.

Elephants

IMGP8782As I promised in my previous post, I am presenting the newest babyblanket that I sewed. I used the same technique (sewing together stripes) but I also applied three elephants on the front and one more on the back. I tried to make this blanket “unisex”, so it would be good for boys and girls, as well. What do you think? I always love most the project that I just finished, so this one is my favourite right now.

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A colourful babyblanket

A tried something new again: a babyblanket made out of stipes and let me tell you, I loved this project! I loved it because it was very easy to make, quickly done and it contains so many colours! It’s like a rainbow but even better because the colorful stripes can come in any order. I can only recomand this project to beginners and for those, who need a quick present for the next babyshower.

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And I am already working on the next, similar babyblanket that I will spice up with a couple of elephants! Are you curious? Well, it’s not done yet but here is a sneak peak:

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More kids’ stuff

Today I was really productive and created two things: hanging organizers and a very practical changing mat for the little ones.

The idea of the changing mat came from this source and I think it is genius because it is small, fits to a (bigger) purse or a changing bag, has little pockets for diapers and wipes. But really my favourite thing about it that it is not big. I hate carry lots of thing with me, I usually have a normal size vallet, a small cell phone and my keys in my purse. Maybe paper tissues, too but really that’s it. So when I had my little boy and was forced to carry lots of stuff with me all the time, I wasn’t happy about it. And two years later (when hopefully very soon he will be potty trained) I find this great idea. That’s my luck. But I am not complaining, I still love it and made one for my upcoming fair and I am corious how it will sell. Take a look:

Varras+Blog6The hanging organizers were totally my idea and have been planning them for ages to make and finally the time came and voila! Also this was the very first time when I bought and used the eyelets for hanging solution and I like them so I will stick to using them in the future.

I actually anded up making two hanging organizer: one for girls (pink with chickens) and one for boys (blue with trucks).

Would you put these hanging toy organizers in your kid’s room?

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Mill game

I have been thinking about this project for a while now and finally I was able to make one, as I imagined it. As a child I used to play Mill and card games with my Mom and I cherish these memories ever since. Now I barely get the time to play any kind of games, or I just play with my two-year-old son, but clearly it is not the same. But I do hope, he will remember me one day as a mom who sat down with him and took the time to teach him play Mill (and other games of course)!

So here is what I created using applique technique, sewing and also woodburning.

IMGP8643The most difficult part was to sew onto the board the little circles. There are 24 of them! You can guess how many hours it took me to finish it. But at the end I was very proud of what I created.

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Then I made a matching little bag to hold all the pices of the game.

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IMGP8639Once it was done, I still needed the little wooden “bottons” (18+1 extra), which I decorated with my wood burning iron while I was whatching TV.

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IMGP8664To tell the truth, I made this set to sell at the fair I am going to in a couple of weeks but I will definately make one for us, too. But because it takes so much time, I won’t make probably any more to sell, unless someone orders it and is willing to pay for it a lot. I think it would make a great present to a Mill game fan or a game collector.

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IMGP8670And because the bag is so nice, you wouldn’t even have to wrap it! Well, what do you think?

An other sneak peak

IMGP8489I have been working on this project for weeks. I mean I started it weeks ago but you know how it is: sometimes you have 20 minutes to work, then you put it aside for days, then it turns  out, that one fabric is not enough and you have to run to the store to get more. Then you wash it and iron it and then nothing happens for days again because you just don’t have the time. And every day when you go to bed, you’re imagining what it will look like if it’s finally done… So this project is exactly that one. But I do hope that sometime soon I will finish it and be able to present it. For the record, this is the largest pice that I have worked on yet.

You asking what it is? I see. I’m not telling but I’d be happy to hear/read your guesses!  🙂

A couple little things

In the last few weeks I wasn’t able to work on my projects and write on the blog as I would usually do because my son had to stay home for two weks. He is starting at the Kindergarten which will take him a few more weeks to get use to it and of course it means that I don’t have the time to work on my projects as I would like to. But after that hopefully I will have more time then I did before, so it’ll be worth it!

In the meantime I do try to sew stuff, even when I just have a half an hour or my son is climbing up on my back while I work on the sewing machine. True story. I couldn’t have done many projects but here are the few that I actually did:

A few more Christmas ornaments for the “Nikolausmarkt” in December:

 

 

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Bookmarks made from scrapfabric.

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And finally a folder decorated with a beautiful piece of traditional Hungarian lace:

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A new idea, a new product

I don’t wear aprons very oft, but when I do, I aspect them to serve and help me in the kitchen. And by that I mean, when I whipe my wet hand in it, the apron should get all the moisture but sometimes they just simply don’t. This is why I came up with the idea to use hand-towel fabrics for making aprons. And of course I had to decorate them somehow, so here they are:

Varras+Blog2What do you think? Would you wear an apron like this?

 

An other babyblanket

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This babyblanket was an other step for me learning new techniques in patchwork. Assembling triangles was new for me and I really thought through every little step of it, I was careful and watched some tutorial videos on youtube. Take a look at this picture below, it shows you the steps how I created this pattern. Yes, it does take time but at the and it will be worth it.

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Now I am proud of the final product.

IMGP8333It’s a 1x1m blanket with thicker batting, so it’s even better for those little crowling babies. I hope a little one will enjoy this blanket for a long time!

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I will be seeling this blanket with all the others at a three-day long maket in Aachen in December. (12. 06-08. Nikolausmarkt in Marienhospital)

Birthday T-Shirt

One of my friends asked me if I could sew some applique things onto a T-Shirt for his son’s birthday. Sure, why not! The little boy is turning two this week and he LOVES tractors.

IMGP7893And this is how the T-Shirt looked after I finished working on it. I have to admit that I couldn’t sew it with my sewing machine. The line along the edge of nr. 2 looked like a really bad EKG and I am not sure why. Probably because the two fabrics were so different. So I had to rip off the seam and start it over by hand.  At the end I was proud of my work, I thought it was very nice and my friend liked it as well.
And I am pretty sure that the birthday boy will love it!

Update: yes, he did love it. Take a look at these pictures of him in the T-shirt:

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Isn’t he sweet? Happy birthday to you again!

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And thanks for the pictures!

UPDATE: Since then I made an other T-Shirt to my son and one more for an other friend. I think kids love it, because it makes them feel really special on their birthday and other kids envy their T-Shirt. Take a look:

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Organizing matchboxes

I read somewhere an article about being a boy’s mother. It listed twenty things that you did not expect when your son was born. For example that toy cars, trains, boats and plains will be everywhere! It is so true…
So here is my solution to this problem: a “parking lot” for all those toy cars.

IMGP7831“Parkhaus” in German means parking lot or garage. It can store 12 cars, you can hang it in the wardrobe, and if it gets dirty, you can take out the hanger and wash it. Well, what do you think?
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This will be also soon available in my online shop.