Wednesday, 20 September 2017

DIY Magnets



The children loved making these magnets and I have to admit - I love them, too!
We will be using them as Christmas presents this year and of course we are going to keep a few.
This project was suitable for my 5 year old (cutting the circles, glueing), the 2,5 year old helped and we gave her some pieces of paper and some scissors so she felt included. She also put the glasnuggets on the paper quite well.


What you need
- 2 pairs of children's scissors (because I have 2 children)
- a catalogue, magazine, newspaper, flyer... whatever motives you like. We used a book catalogue from a local book shop mainly. Completely for free.
- clear glue
- clear glas nuggets (ours are 17-20mm, the base is about 14mm)
- magnets (ours are 12,5mm in diameter)
- thin coloured carton (we used dark blue and dark green) to back the cut out paper
- felt tip pen to mark out the circles
- optional: efco circle punch 14mm

I bought the glass nuggets  and magnets here: https://www.bastelweltcreativ.de/glasnuggets-muggelsteine/c-145.html
And the puncher is from amazon. We used the 14mm hole (but it comes with 3 circles, maybe we use those for another project...)
(and I am not getting anything out of recommending my sources, it's purely informative)
Cost: I suppose this depends on where you live, we bought 30 glassnugets and 30 magnets and the circle punch (which is only optional...) for about 11 Euros altogether. The rest was from the stock or available for free.


How to do it



1. Mark out the areas you want cut. I made the circles slightly larger than the area we actually need, because the girls tend to cut well inside the circle I made. If you have the circle punch - still let them cut the circles, it improves their dexterity AND they love looking at the pictures and help choosing them enthusiastically.




2. The circles are then glued to a piece of dark blue construction paper by the children and after drying I punched them (the pictures, not the children). If your pictures have been printed on relatively firm paper, you can skip this step, but ours was just normal paper, so it is better to back it so the magnet doesn't show through. the puncher makes the circles nice and even and with the darker paper underneath eventual gaps (from too small cut circles... happens...) are filled out. If you don't want to invest in a puncher, you can also cut the circles with scissors. Depending on the age of the children they can do that, too...




3. Here comes the magic. Now you put one relatively small dot of liquid clear glue (we've used just ordinary liquid hobby glue... I have to admit this one wasn't solvent free... that somehow slipped my attention... we normally use solvent free glue...) Make sure the glass sits with the right side and nicely centered on the paper. They can be a bit slippy in the beginning. My youngest just sort of throws the glass on the paper, and then I adjust it. She loves it, though. Put them on a carton o piece of wood or something else that gives them stability and put them away for a night for the glue to dry. Before you leave them, check again, that the glass hasn't travelled away from the paper.




4. After drying thoroughly, you can attach the magnets. We've used magnets made for DIY, so one side has a little "dot" in it and is less magnetic than the other side. Again, one dot of liquid clear glue, careful adjusting and drying time. You can see in the picture (maybe) that the two WITH the magnets are sligthly higher than the ones in the middle that are still waiting to be magnetified.
If you are worried about scratching surfaces, you can then glue a small piece of 1mm thin felt underneath the magnet, but we don't worry about it much. :)


We made these over a time of 2 weeks, on rainy days. Cutting the paper circles took about 2 days and I didn't anticipate how much the girls would love it. Especially the older one LOVED to choose the motives and look through the catalogues. You can stretch this to whatever time you need, it's great in how many small "bitesize" portions this project can be diveded. Glueing them all to the paper took about 2 afternoon sessions again (the punching took about 20 mins... alone...). Glueing the magnets to the glass was like a "special treat" and we did this in batches from 5-7 at a time so the magic wouldn't go away. That worked quite well, especially as Little Miss No 1 got to choose the 5-7 pictures she wanted to glue herself.

If you make them as presents, you can choose paper matching for the recipient -
- an ardent "Game of Thrones" or "Lord of the rings" fan - print the maps!
- a traveller - you can get really old maps for near to nothing
- a book enthusiast - old books in pretty languages (e.g. kyrillic) or said book catalogues a brilliant
- an arts specialist - print pictures or photographs of his or her favourite artist
- a movie lover - black and white photographies make brilliant backgrounds
- a super cook - food photography can be fantastic!
- ... the possibilities are endless... whatever is printed, can be made into these magnets. Those glassnuggets also come in different sizes

Tadaaaa!!




Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Where has all the historical costuming gone???



Hello everybody who comes here for the historical costuming stuff.

It's been a while. Sorry about that.

Since the arrival of my two lovely and spirited daughters my life has considerably changed (in many ways) and has been enriched so much. But that also means, that I have considerably less time for historical costuming. I've not left it, no worries, I have SO many ideas in my head what I would like to make or reinterpret or what project I would like to revisit to adjust to my changing taste. I am still following the reenactment community, but more passively.

Because at the moment, I have other priorities.

I have my children, with who I like to do arts and crafts. And I do a lot of research around the topic. And prepare, collect the materials. Think about when and how to make it with them. Check the weather forecast. Stuff like that. Stuff that I never even imagined, when I didn't have children. Stuff that I love doing with them. Even if they loose interest after 5 minutes. It's a learning process. :)

So I invite you to look through the labels on the right for a special period of time if you are only here for the costumes, of look at the pictures (link at the top of the page). Otherwise - just browse, maybe you find something that catches your interest - arts and crafts wise, in my articles about consumerism/minimalism - or you start you own "make and mend challenge"?!

XXX

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

arts and crafts and waste




It's been a little quiet here lately, sorry. But I was researching something (and still am): 

As some of you might know, I have two wonderful children. Small children aged 2 and 5. And I like arts and crafts. And I would like to share this with them in a way that is fun for all of us. 

So I was looking for a book about arts and crafts with young children  - and I have to admit, i was a bit disappointed by what i found.

Some of the books were like "you can make something from EVERYTHING". As in "use food for fun". Or a lot of expensive material was required. Or it was really mostly pre-manufactured. No real skills necessary.

I didn't like that. I also didn't like the fact that some things just looked really ... erm... not nice.
Ok, not all of the things my children make are masterpieces (incredible, I know), but I thought we could at least TRY to make something to put up on the wall and in the house. Something tasteful. Or useful. Where they learn something new and enjoy it. Don't need to buy an awful lot of expensive or wasteful material.

I again started appreciating the internet an awful lot. I can access blogs from all around the world about things to do with children on rainy days. I can access books from all around the world. Brilliant. 

So I started making a folder with things to do for rainy days throughout the seasons and "always". 

And: We now have a wall with frames to put the children's artwork (and also ours or from the family) in, which I will post about in the future, too. 

And I will also post the things we've made. It will be quite random, but such is life. :) 

You will be able to access all the ideas from the label "Ideas for rainy days with children". 

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!


XXX


PS: If you have ideas or links to blog from creative people - let me know!!

_______

Now, arts and crafts and waste also is a big topic in all things DIY. The amount of fabrics I have sitting in the cellar, that are waiting to be made into something, is ridiculous. Sometimes I can't even remember, why I wanted them in the first place and what I intended to make from them... and I have also lots of other arts and crafts "stuff" that I can't possibly use all at once. But it's a tricky one - if I would throw away or give away all of those materials, I wouldn't be able to revisit the project (e.g. hatmaking or silk flowers). Even if it takes years. It is also great to just be able to go downstairs for some coloured paper for the kids... But strictly speaking these are all leftovers from a time of vast overconsumption. Which makes me feel a little sad. And now... what do I do with them?

I am more careful now with getting materials and equipment. Unless I know when I need the material and want to make something from it, I am not buying it. Even if the price is wonderful and sometimes it is SO tempting.
Instead, I am using what we have stored and I am also taking pride in reusing material that we already own. E.g. old clothes. Sometimes it can be quite tricky to be a crafter and at the same time you don't want to have all the things you make - e.g. I've seen a book on making baskets out of old newspapers - brilliant idea... only... what would I do with all those baskets?
So I am trying to combine the idea of making something that we can use in the house or maybe give away as presents PLUS taking the material from what we've got at home. It doesn't always work (which is a good sign... more and more material is being used up!) but we are turning more and more to resources readily available around us instead of going shopping for arts and crafts supplies first. The amount of things you can make from leaves is incredible!

So, my aim for the rest of my "Make and Mend II" year is also, to use material that we have around us and/or in the house and make things that are of certain use. Let's see, how that works out. :) 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Waiting for something makes it more exciting.

http://www.warholstore.com/sites/warholstore.com/files/imagecache/product_full/products/39755.jpg


Maybe not everything, but he's got a point.

If you can't (or decide not to) buy everything immediately but waiting a set amount of time (1 week, 1 month) or maybe though sheer self-discipline or by setting a budget. And then you know - is it really that important to you? Is it worth wainting for? Does it get even more valuable for you?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Update on "Make and Mend" II



A word on the "making" side of the make and mend project. 

I noticed that  I like to try things out and sometimes I tend to get lost in new projects. While it is not wrong to like to learn new DIY things, it is not great to always start something new and then somehow you are stuck with it. Because it costs a lot of money on material and it usually uses up space. :) Also it is very rewarding to actually finish a project or acquire more skills than just starting one thing and the next and the next and so on.

So, to avoid more UFOs (unfinished objects) and make myself to revisit said UFOs and get more into things I've already started, I have limited my monthly "hobby" expenses. I have 20 Euros per month now for hobby projects (I transfer them to a separate account), so if I want to do something DIY, I can't just start something new, I have a set budget. Or I revisit projects and material I already have. :) 

A list of  projects to revisit:

I still have material and tools for making silk flowers. (But the instruments are so hot, I am a little scared of working with them, so I am wearing leather gloves while using them now. Also I have to wait until the kids are out of the house or in bed, because it would be so dangerous if they touched the instruments. I did enjoy it though, so I am defintely going to revisit.

Another example is the hat making. I have a lot of ideas and all the materials for it - only we've switched to an induction hob now, so my kettle for the water steam (essential) won't work on it, because it is made from aluminium. That's a bit unfortunate. I can now either buy a new kettle or a single electrical hob. I am probably going to go with the latter, because the kettle is perfect, and I can move a single hob around and also work outside. Again, the steam is really really hot and the kids shouldn't be around.

I recently discovered, how much fun dollmaking is.

And of course there is still my sewing and pattern drafting, a plan for an embroidery project (whitework), ... so much to discover ...

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

"And what if I don't?"

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

So imagine, if you are one shopping trip or in the supermarket and you pass shops and windows and - you don't. You don't buy anything one the list. You don't buy anything impulsively.

"And what if I don't?!"

Effectively, I dare to say, nothing bad will happen. Unlike advertisements make you believe, you won't start having depression or look any worse if you don't buy the product. It also won't make you less attractive. You will stay who you are. No joke. :)
On the other hand, not buying impulsively, will have a lot of positive effects:
You will save money
You will have less clutter in your house
You will save the environment more rubbish
You will find, that after maybe a few hours or days, you'll most likely have forgotten about ever wanting that "thing".

Why not try it out - just buy what's on your shopping list of "needs" and leave everything else where it is - in the shelves. And see how you feel about owning it in a week.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Nora - My first attempt at dollmaking





Because I always need something to do and create, I ventured into dollmaking. I can't exactly remember how that happened, but I thought I'd try out to make a Waldorf-style doll for Little Miss No 1 myself.

Anyway, I found this lovely homepage (in English and German)
http://www.mariengold.net/
http://www.mariengold.net/english-2/

And as it happens this lady not only makes dolls, but she is generously sharing her knowledge. She's teaching dollmaking and you can purchase pdf patterns and material kits online (on etsy and dawanda).

I got the instructions for "Baby Twink" and a set with material and then set of and enjoyed every second of making Nora. And Little Miss No 1 absolutely loves her, too. Which is great, because she usually doesn't go for toys...

The instructions are clear, very precise, with a lot of helpful pictures and graphics. It was no problem to follow them step by step. And there are a lot of useful tipps and techniques in it, too. The pattern includes 5 different dolls: 2 babies (30cm and 45cms) and 3 children (30,40,50cms).

The material kit was great, enough of everything available, more on the generous side (much appreciated here).

I also got the "Oh girl" dolls clothes ebook, so we could dress Nora immediately. Plenty of knitting, crocheting and sewing projects. What I particularly enjoyed was the fact, that Little Miss No 1 actually helped making the dolls clothes. She cut AND machinesewed the entire shirt.

Oh and the colours are a choice of Little Miss No 1, too.

If you ever toy with the idea of making a doll like this - these are brilliant instructions.





I think she looks a lot cuter in real.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Diderot Effect


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Denis_Diderot_111.PNG


I thought this was a very good read!

http://jamesclear.com/diderot-effect

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Best girls' summer dress ever!!!

the bias tape is not neon orange. it's a nice warm orange. never mind what the camera saw.


Summer has finally arrived and it's superhot (35°C in the shade). The girls go through their summer dresses so fast I decided they need some more (I am always amazed with what speed and ease the children soil their clothes...). I used a supereasy pattern (basically a square with armholes) and the children love the dresses. I've made nearly all of them in 2-year old and 5 year old version. So the can go "hers and hers". For a bout 30seconds. Apart from the one pictured above (made from two old pillowcases) I made 4 white ones from a remnant of my regency Blitz-dress, 2 light yellow dresses from linen fabric I had in the stash (no idea what I intended to make from that originally...) and 1 for litte Miss No 1 from an old shirt from my natural minimalist. Apart from the one pictured (which I happened to finish today), they are ALL in the wash basket or drying on the line.

The dresses are quite wide at the top (with an elastic) and have big armholes and are nicely adjustable with the bias tape straps, so I just assumed they will fit for quite a while. I made them all as long as possible and added an extra wide hem and a few folds above it to let out length when the children grow.

The pattern has simple instructions and 3 variations for the straps. There is not much more you need  in a summer dress for superheat.  You can get the pattern here  (German):
https://de.dawanda.com/product/30464413-haengerchen-lotte-ebook-anleitung-schnitt

____________________________________________
Time: about 4 hours for 9 dresses (done on several days...)
Cost: Nothing additional. Had all in the house. Some of the material was given to me. Fabric requirements are minimal, 1 pillowcase (80x80cm) is enough for a dress for a 5-8 year old.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Everything is relative.


I originally wanted to write this article about how we consume. and then i stumbled across a homepage which was all about frugal living. Or so it said. The thing is: The way I understand frugality, they didn't really seem especially frugal to me.

And then i suddenly dawned on me, how very different our perspectives are (the one in the blog was a north-east American one, mine is a southern German one). Our lives are so different, our surroundings are different, what we consider normal or luxurious is influenced by our upbringing, by the views we acquired during our lives, on circumstances of living, income, culture, where we live, if we have maybe seen and/or understood other ways of living ... it's amazing. 

Just to give you one example: One comment on the blog was that electricity was rather expensive - per kWh about 9 cents. The going rate for a normal household in our region is about 20 cents. (Both come with a monthly meter rate that is comparable, at least something....). To me those "expensive" 9 cents seem ridiculously cheap. nevertheless, what is important is not only the price of the energy, because obviously there is not much you can do about hat, but how much you use on a regular base. We are a family of 4 and we use about 3000kWh a year. That is about average. 
"The national average monthly consumption in the US is 903 kWh/month, monthly residential electricity consumption in the U.S. ranges from approximately 531 kWh/mo. to 1,254 kWh/mo." (source U.S. Energy Information Administration (2012))." 

Now, that is a difference and that is also normality. We have a homepage in Germany called "initiative for saving electricity" that is aiming at private households. If you speak German, here is the link: http://www.die-stromsparinitiative.de/   It gives really good advice on how to save electricity. 

And saving electricity means saving funds AND using resources responsibly. 

But this was just an example. Everything we do, we see from our own context, from our own way of living. But everything can be seen with different eyes and with a different mind. 

I did a litle experiment today,  it is called "What if I don't?" and it is meant to make me (and anyone who wants to rethink their everyday routine) think about what I could do differently.The rule is very simple. With everything you do, you ask yourself "and what if I don't?" an evaluate the consequences. I found it very liberating. But I will tell you about that another day. until then - try it out yourself and switch of the light in the rooms you are no using. :)