Sunday 31 December 2017

Winter landscape - window transparent

As I don't find much time at the moment for big (sewing) projects, I made this transparent for January.

The carton is actually light blue, but I didn't manage to get the colour right AND show the transparent's layers.

I have the book "Mit farbigen Transparenten durch das Jahr" by Michaela Kronshage und Silvia Schwartz, which offers 15 or so transparents with detailed decriptions. Not all of them are 100% to my taste, but they are all really good to learn about the layering and how to achieve certain effects.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Aliena for Isabel

One of my best friends from waaaaaay back in schooltimes has an adorable little daughter called Isabel. So of course I wanted to make a doll for her, too. And the name for this one was clear from the very beginning. Aliena. Like one of the main characters from "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follet. Of course there is a story behind this. When I was about 15 or so, I was given this novel from my friend and I was dragged into the story of love, hate, passion, drama, history - I was hooked and in a way it was a novel that a huge impact on me. But enough on the name.

I wanted the doll to have a sort of "earthy" feel so I chose dark brown hair (which the character in the book has, too, and dark eyes). The clothes are a dress made from layers cotton batist in curry yellow and a grey/mud brown. Her hat and her shoes are a crocheted from a dark burgundy cotton and the coat (with hood) is knitted from grey wool that is just the sligthest but irregular in the shade of grey.

To make the doll, I followed instructions. As well as for the clothes. I love those instructions (she sells them in English and in German and if you have questions, she's answering them really quickly via Email and she's really friendly, too!). The material for the doll is from, they have wonderful jersey knit for the skin in I think 5 shades. This one is called "haut hell" (light skin). The hair is made from Dolly Mo Woolly Mohair in dark brown. And the filling is wool fleece (from sheep from Southern Germany... and I LOVE the smell of wool!). All the dyes and fabrics  are ecofriendly/organic and non-poisonous so it's entirely child-safe.

I made the doll as a Christmas/Birthday present.

Tuesday 26 December 2017

Leevke - another baby doll

And yet another doll for christmas - for little Miss No 2. Who didn't get a self-made doll so far, so this is her first one. Again, I made the dolly following Mariengold patterns, also for the clothes (shoes, coat and dress). The dress is a variation on a tunic shirt in her clothes book "oh girl". It is a little longer and has a ruffle and velvet ribbon attached at the bottom, so it is more a dress than a tunic.
The hair is made from off-white mohair wool (from and I then attached two pleats on the back which i tied around the head, so it is like one big pleat around the head. (because of the big ribbon around the head, you can't really see this...) Maybe I manage to take another picture when it is warmer.

Making these little dolls is so addictive!

Monday 25 December 2017

Wencke - a baby doll.

This little cutie is called Wencke. She was this year's christmas present for my not-so-little-any more Miss No 1. And she adopted her with delight saying "finally I have a little baby, too!".

Anyhow, I made this little dolly following the instructions for "Mariengold" dolls ( which i really like. The hair is made in a special crocheting technique with Dolly Mo Wolly Mohair in dark brown.

All material is organic and non toxic (including the dyes). The filling is wool fleece from local sheep. :)

The clothes are made following Mariengold "Oh girl" patterns (shirt, hat, suit, shoes), only I combined a dress and a trousers pattern to make this overall. They were farbric remnants from shirts and trousers I also used to make clothes for the kids.

This was my second attempt at dollmaking. And again, I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Nag Champa incense

So here's a post completely unrelated to almost anything i've ever posted before. I didn't even think that was possible.

I am posting about Nag Champa. Not any Nag Champa, but my favourite. Yes, I like incense sticks. Not always, not all of the time and I like them best on the terrace, but I DO like them. Especially the blue ones, Satya Sai Baba.  So, I've noticed there are different packages around and I've also noticed they smell differently and a lot of people on the net noticed that, too.

I just wanted to add to the confusion and tell you, there are two companies, that nearly look the same package wise, one in Mumbai
and one in Bangalore   and I personally like the Bangalore one best. I am not completely sure what the exact reasons for the two factories are, they seem to have the same roots, but the Mumbai one seems to have them machine rolled, whereas the Bangalore ones are handrolled.

How can you distiguish them? Well... there are subtle differences in appearance, only nobody knows how long that's going to stay like that. The sealing sticker on the side is different (two bars vs. three bars) and the logo on the sticker is slightly different (Mumbai has more like two C's, the Bengalore one is more an S with stripes, be aware though, the package print itself is more or less identical!).
Also the Mumbai one seems to have LLP written after the Shrinivas Sugandhalaya. The Bengalore company writes either (BNG) LLP or none of that. The Mumbai Company also has something with ISO 9000-2008 or so printed on it. We are talking about Indian incense here. ISO? No, sorry, I don't buy that.

The packages have been changing over time, with new pictures and stuff on it, so the only thing I can tell you now (November 2017) is:

There are two companies: One in Mumbai and one in Bangalore. I like the product from Bangalore better. Comparing pictures on the two homepages (see above) helps. For the moment the seal (two stripes = Mumbai, three stripes = Bengalore) is a good indicator.

Friday 24 November 2017

Christmas lantern Special

For the Christmas market of the kindergardens, I had to contribute something. So I thought I'd do some arts and crafts. I've not got tons of time but they luckily don't expect masterpieces. So I thought I'd try something I've always intended to try and never did - making oiled paper lanterns. :)
I really enjoyed folding these lanterns, so I can really recommend making them even if you don't have to supply a christmas bazar. They create a very cosy atmosphere.

I find it easiest to first fold and glue the lanterns and then gently rubbing them with baby oil or rapeseed oil (or any other neutral oil). You could even add a drop of scented oil (e.g. lavender or cinnamon, but that's not necessary). I also recommend putting a little glass inside, to protect the paper and prevent fires.

Here are my results

Lampion 1

Lampion 2

Try the Lampion! (A4 sized paper)

Lampion Laterne

English instructions:Lantern

I've made slight alterations to the pattern above, because I like very crisp folds. And the version in the original patterns always ended up a bit tattered. But the method behind it is the same. Just the red lantern has two folds more, and the yellow a few less.

Here is the folding pattern for the red lantern above
The pattern for the yellow lampion lantern can be found here:

Waldorf star shaped lantern

The Waldorf/Steiner Star shaped light (A3 sized paper)

Waldorf lantern
There is also a video how to fold it, it is in German, but not too difficult to follow
Video Waldorf lantern

English instructions: Star shaped lantern

Tealight holder - I didn't fold these, it's from
This is also a very pretty, extremely simple tealight holder and you can also make 24 of it in rainbow colours and use it as an advent calender! Super cute!

table light (includes pattern for paper lantern cut, pentagon), I couldn't find english instructions, but it is supereasy. :)

And talking about Pentagons, there is this classic Waldorf lantern, too! (it is made from pentagons and results in dodecahedron with stars!). I found it easiest to cut 10 pentagons (so you leave to top and the bottom open) and then just light a candle and put the lantern over it. After printing the pattern on yellow (or any other sort of paper), cut them juuuuust inside the marks, otherwise you have the marks left on the lantern (like me...)

Dodecahedron lantern - I LOVE geometry!

Pentagon star lantern (with pattern)
English instructions: Pentagon star lamp
my pattern: (A4 sized paper)

**** Be careful with fire and candles. Put them on a heat proof surface and don't leave them unattended. If you don't know how to handle fire, use LED candles, they are safer****

short url:

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Macramé lights

Just imagine I HAD actually lit the candle inside!

So today I did some DIY again. And it was so supereasy and though I'd share it.

I've always wanted to try out Macramé. I can't really tell you why, because I've never really seen anything made from Macramé that I wanted to have. Possibly it is because my mother always made fun of people making stuff with Macramé technique. So for years this wish to do Macramé was there... and then this happened:

(I know, the video is in German, but just switch of the sound and follow the pictures, it is SO easy)

I really like the way those lanterns look (especially the hanging one), so I though, why not give it a try, especially as I had all material required (empty glass, anything goes here) and string (it is 24meters juteyarn in dark green, which i normally use to wrap parcels and presents).The glass is from jam.

And because it is November, you see this lantern NOT swaying gently in the garden
but peacefully hanging from the back of our door. 

Super easy project, took me about 30minutes (the kids helped, too).

Sunday 5 November 2017

Jeans Mend

Yes, these are my jeans. 

Just a quick post of my newly mended jeans.

I hate buying jeans, I don't find any that fit properly and they keep changing the models so if I finally find one, that I find out i DO like, they are not on sale any more. Like this one.

The area (you can now see mended) was really really thin and nearly gone, so I decided I had to do something or I would have to go and look for a new pair of jeans or make one (I am still dreading making jeans... because of everything...).

I took a piece of wool loden (which is soft, thin and durable) and then used a sort of sashiko-whatever-works technique. Done. When worn you can't really see the spot.

Yummy Yummy Pumpkin bread - a recipe


So, I am sharing a recipe. One of the most "moreish" cakes I've ever made. It's like you eat so much from it you start feeling sick, take a break, and as soon as you don't feel sick any more, you want to eat that cake again, it is THAT good!!

Believe me, I am not a very passionate cook. I don't particularly enjoy cutting and mixing and stirring for hours. And i don't particularly enjoy trying out recipes if it involves pots and pans.

However, I do enjoy baking, I like making roasts and cakes and gateaux, but because I've learnt that cake every day just isn't a really clever thing, I am not doing that very often.

BUT today I just felt like trying something new. And because it is pumpkin season here, I wanted to try's pumpkin bread. I had made her pumpkin pie with pecan praline sauce before, it was really nice (especially because we don't really do pumpkin pie over here in Germany, it's not very common...), and that sauce is ooooohhhhmmmm..... yummy (here's the recipe:

But even nicer (AND easier!) is the pumpkin bread. Make it. Now. DO IT!

I made the pumpkin puree from scratch (we can't buy pumpkin puree in tins here, it seems it is a common thing in the US), and as it is super easy I don't really understand why one would buy it, but anyway.

The cake was gone in about 4 hours. And the children didn't even get much from it...
That is one of the reasons why I didn't take a picture. Another reason is, that my cakes don't always look good. Don't ask me.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The Doomsday Clock

I have to admit, although this doomsday clock existed since the late 1940s, I hadn't heard of it. Shame on me.

But it is really worth visiting the page and reading about the latest political developments worldwide and learn, why it is 2,5 minutes to Midnight.

Monday 23 October 2017

The Minimalism Fraud / Mark Eder

Today I've been looking around the Internet for interesting posts on Minimalism (again) and I noticed something, that really upset me. Although it didn't surprise me. After the LOHAS lifestyle, the minimalism lifestyle is the "new" thing to do. The "less is more" and "what you have should be of superior quality" thing. But it still involves buying new stuff. Which is not minimalist. At least not the way I understand it. But as I've said before, I am not really a minimalist that way. 

If you put all your files on a digital surface (books, music...) but keep buying and buying - that is not minimalism. It just doesn't show consumerism that much. 

If you have less furniture in a huge house - that's still consumerism. Especially if you throw everything out, that you owned before to refurnish with the new style. Nobody needs a huge house. Huge (empty) houses are a waste of space and energy. And a luxury item. A status symbol. Especially if they are empty. 

If you completely change the contents of your wardrobe to match that new style, if you buy new minimalist beauty products - that's still consumerism. 

When IKEA suddenly offers bicycles to be more "minimalist and eco" and H&M  group open their third line (H&M, COS, Arket) with the two latter aiming at conscious and minimalist consumers (but still consumers), then that indicates, that there is a new target group of consumers. They certainly don't do it because they want to inspire thrift and prudence.

We are stepping into the consumerism trap again. 

What I also find annoying is the "in your face" attitude a lot of self-proclaimed minimalists (one should never call oneself a minimalist, really...) when they show on their blog (where you can also buy their latest book on the topic and where lots of adds are popping up) how minimalist they live - in the 5 bedrooms house. With an extra sports rooms and an extra toys room. And a huge car. Gosh, that's all "stuff"!!! It shows again, that minimalism is only for well off people. Honestly, I don't have words for the disgust I feel towards this whole consumerism and minimalism-fraud. Everything around me seems to be about "buy-buy-buy". 

*rant off* ;)

I didn't make this up, I found this on a google picture search:
find the mistake
Interesting reads:

Wednesday 11 October 2017

The Gift of Death - George Monbiot

Christmas is approaching quicker than we all think. Before you go shopping for "stuff" for you beloved - read this article and think about it again.

Friday 6 October 2017

Some thoughts on my "Make and Mend" Challenge

Maybe you have heard of Jen Gale's or know of similar pages. She's inspired me to my year Make and Mend Challenge and only today I've stumbled about a comment with a question on the "no new clothes for a year" group. The comment was

"I am 9 months in and loving it. I am starting to think about when the 12 months is up and what I will do then. Part of me says splurge but that doesn't feel right or likely. What have other members done? [...]"

I suddenly remembered, I had similar feelings when I started my own Make and Mend Challenge in 2016 and it was a sort of spiteful "you are not being nice to yourself now and pull through and when your are through you can go and indulge in shopping because you earned it and you deserve it anyway ". Funny enough, this is exactly how consumerism works. It manipulates us on a very emotional level. Because shopping really still isn't a hobby and it has nothing to do with being kind to yourself. It is just a feeling instilled in us by very clever advertising. 

Now, while I went on the Make and Mend challenge we also were challenged financially by the fact that we had decided to take nearly a year parental time and live on about 50-60% of our normal monthly income. So as it happened, I was not only very busy with tending to two small children (that said, we were all 4 of us together those 10 months!) but even when I was very very very tempted, it wasn't really possible and that was a good thing. (as I had explained in a post before, overconsumption is only possible if you have the means to do so... or decide to go into debts...)
With the time passing I noticed a distinctive change in my attitude (very much like the one in the comment above). When before I would buy something because it was cute and I could, now I look at everything very carefully and would ask myself "do I really need this?" and "don't I have something at home that serves the same purpose?". It just got much more unlikely to just go on a mindless shopping splurge. I mean, why go shopping if you already know you don't need anything and you don't really want anything you don't need...?!

I also got to know my taste in clothes a lot better and I am much more careful to only buy things that fit now. And are of an acceptable quality for the price asked. Which means a lot of the time even if I try something  on, I don't buy it.

I've actually come to a point where I don't really enjoy shopping, because I don't do it for its own sake but for a purpose - and I really don't enjoy it much to look for a pair of jeans these days, because I just don't find any, that fit me. Which also means that any time in the next 6 months I will probably have to sew a pair. But I am trying my best to mend the 2 pairs I have and that fit me well. I am even thinking about not replacing them and starting to wear more skirts. i have a few lovely skirts and dresses. Only the moths have eaten all of my woolly tights... (which is a sign I didn't wear them much, shame on me!)

I am in my second year of make and mend now and I am growing used to this attitude of "non-shopping". I still own more than enough clothes, and nothing new has really entered my wardrobe. I am starting to mend more, I am also repurposing items (like one really really cool t-shirt that just doesn't fit me.. and probably never did...). I also notice ill fit more (which is something the sewing for the 18th century caused) and I get really annoyed about uncomfortable clothes not (which might also be a sign of getting older...).

I sometimes look back and think - wow, how much time I wasted on just going shopping - all those hours... I could have read a book, I could have painted, I could have played the piano, I could have gone for a lovely walk or a run, I could have learned something new, I could have done something that is more according to the idea of mindfulness.

But then again - I had to go through this, to learn about myself and to learn how in then end this whole shopping and fashion and accessoires and home decor stuff is just empty and leaves you with more emptiness. Which is very ironical really, because it is the opposite of what adversiting is suggesting.

So, to come back to the question from that group. If you have gone though a year on not shopping at all, I think you do deserve a treat. But does it have to be a shopping splurge? Maybe you have a rough idea how much money you saved because you omitted regular shopping trips. You could visit a friend who lives further away. Or you could go on a mini holiday. Or you could treat yourself to a book. Or a membership in the public library. Or cook a nice meal for friends. Or maybe all through that year you have eyed up one particular item... a coat? A pair of shoes or boots? A necklace? A hat? Decide on one item and get it and enjoy it.

The make and mend challenge is a challenge. Which means, it is also over after some time. And that is a good thing. As I said in the post on the challenge, it is not about chastising ourselves for the rest of our lives. It is about going from one extreme to the other extreme for a limited amount of time, to eventually find the middle way (to quote buddha).

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Aurélie for Mia

Of course my Little Miss No 2 shouldn't be without a self-made doll, either. She will get this little cutie (called Aurélie) for her 3rd Birthday. She's been asking for a while already, so I hope she will be happy when she finally gets her own doll.

I used the patterns again, and I still love them so much.

For the hair I used Dolly Mo Wooly Mohair in Dark Brown. The pullover/knitdress is also made following a pattern by Mariengold and I used some leftover sock yarn (the one I used for Bina by Lalylala...). I made two strings to close the back, with two pompoms (i LOVE making Pompoms!) also from leftover yarn. The shoes are also made following the Mariengold (oh girl!) instructions (cotton in a rusty red).

The dress Aurélie is wearing underneth the pullover dress is made from a lovely fabric by Tilda and then from a scrap piece of fabric (cotton batist) I applied a ruche at the bottom.

And why is she called Aurélie? - Because I like the Song by "Wir sind Helden". :)

Tilda Wildgarden fabric

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:
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


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"?!


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!


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.

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)

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

I thought this was a very good read!

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):

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:   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. :) 

Monday 26 June 2017

one happy oven glove

Today's small DIY is one happy oven glove. I still had so much thermolam (link to company) left, that I though I'd make some oven gloves. Yes, I did make an pot holder just last week or so but to be honest: we don't use potholders. We use this kind of oven glove.

So I sat down and made a quick pattern, which you can download (including short instructions) here (it's a pdf). The pattern has added seam allowance (the thick black line), about 1/2 inch.

It took about 2 hours to make them and I've had all th necessary material at hand. The green "grip area" is made from wool felt, about 2,5mm thickness.

Here are some pictures from the "making of"

inside cotton layer quickly quilted on one side of thermolam

all layers pinned, right sides together.

Alternative usage for the pattern:

A hand puppet (just add eyes on the top and maybe some wool as hair and if you want a tongue hanging from the mouth).

this is not my arm. :)
No additional cost, I had all the material at hand.
If you can get the exact quantities, it would be about 5 Euros, I guess.