Thursday, March 31, 2016

a prickly situation: a pin-cactus made from scraps.

Hey! did you know....? Tomorrow I'll be celebrating the fact that I'm turning 27!  Nope, no april's fools to be found here! I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for it. Not that I mind getting older, as I think that aging just means that you have added a few chapters to the story of your life. And whatever is written in those stories -the bad and the good-, it is part of who you are and therefore aging should be something to be proud of.

But last year has turned out to be quite a rollercoaster, with subsequent high's and lows. I feel like a completely different person than the Marije from one year ago, who was celebrating her 26'th birthday in her old apartment, oblivious to what the year might bring.

But ofcourse besides reflection, a birthday mainly is a cause for celebration. And what better  way to celebrate than with a little refashion? So, I made myself a little gift: a pin cushion made from scraps!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

thrifty and handmade interiors: a peek inside my living room!

Since I've started this blog, I've had quite a few conversations with various people than went somewhat along the following lines:

stranger: Hey, I read you're into making/thrifting/upcycling* (*choose one) things. Cool! I also like making/thrifting/upcycling!
me: "Glad you like it!"
stranger:  "yeah... but you know... I never know what to do with those thrifted/upcycled/handmade things. I mean, I like it when other people have these creative houses, but I like a classier/simpler/different style for my own house.

Despite my complete lack in skills to paraphrase a conversation, I actually do hear this sentiment quite a lot; People who think that incorporating hand-made or thrifted items in your house inevitably leads to a vintage, hippie-like style with loads of color and obvious crafts everywhere.

OF COURSE IT DOESN'T!!! There are a lot of possibilities to have a interior that doesn't involve any retail without making it look like your house is a dependance of your thrift shop. In order to show that, I thought it would be nice to give you a little peek inside my own humble abode, where practically all items are made, thrifted or ( in most cases) a combination of those two.

Today's edition: Our living room.

Monday, March 28, 2016

queens of scraps

First of all, a belated happy easter to all of you! I hope you're having a great weekend. I have very fond memories of celebrating easter as a little girl at my parent's house: all the flowers in and around the house, the egg-hunt in the garden, the lovely breakfast (breakfast is my favorite meal) and of course eating yourself sick from all the chocolate eggs.

This year, we passed that tradition on to my two little nieces, who were staying the weekend at my parents' place. I of course didn't want to miss out on the amount of chocolate eggs, wine (and dirty diapers..), so I also paid them a visit. I hadn't seen my nieces in a while, and wanted to bring them a little gift. Since my oldest niece ( she's three) is fond of dressing up as a princess, I decided to make them little crowns, made from scraps of fabric!

Friday, March 25, 2016

refashioning a shawl into a dress: yep, you read that right!

Remember I told you that I had a pretty awesome refashion for you in store? Well, I finally managed to take some pictures of the result, so today is the day to inform you of my latest refashion! I'm pretty excited about it because of the following reasons

1) It involved a dress. And dresses are my favorite kind of clothes.
2) It's made from a simple shawl, which usually cost around 0,50 at the thrift shop.
3) It's really easy, and I'm sure you can manage it too!!
4) I haven't seen anyone else doing this, so it feels like an invention ( although, it may be my crappy google-skills that are at play here)

so let's get to it, shall we?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Broen the cat plants a veggie garden

Hi There!

You must be wondering "Why am I reading a blog written by a cat today?" Well, the food-dispenser lady (let's just call her mum) has been very busy last week with publishing her first academic paper. But of course I know that the readers of her blog are much more important than those dusty scientists, so being a good cat like I am, I volunteered to help her with making a blog today!

Monday, March 21, 2016

(green) message in a bottle

Last weekend, I was experimenting with refashioning, and I discovered a pretty amazing refashioning-project. I can't wait to share it with you, buuutt.. I completely forgot to take after-pictures in daylight, so that one 'll have to wait! So, to consolidate you (okay, fulfill my own desire to write something) I'm making this small blogpost about a small project: a terrarium in a bottle!

It started when I was cleaning out our little basement, and found some old juice-bottles there. I usually keep them as water jars, or for storing my home-made fruit sirup. But I noticed this one was a tiny bit chipped. Instead of throwing it away, I figured; why not use it for something nice? And since half of my fittonia-plant was stil residing in a sad, frumpy little pickle-jar, I decided an extra terrarium was needed. So, buckle up for my second terrarium! ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cinderella's stepsister: A severe case of thrift shop fever

It was 5 minutes before closing time and the cashier of the thirft shop was tapping her fingers impatiently. And I... I was completely unaware of this all, in the fitting room squeezing myself in numerous items. Finally, the cashier could take it no longer. "We're closing in a minute!" she snapped at the general direction of my fitting chamber. "What?" I mumbled, with my head halfway through what -by the size of it- appeared to be an armhole. In my mind, it was at least half an hour till closing time. Unfortunately it wasn't, and hastily I tried to wiggle myself back into my own clothes, and ran to the checkout. In the spur of the moment I decided to buy a pair of black wedges that I had only spotted seconds before.

On hindsight, maybe not a very bright idea; I hadn't even tried them on. And indeed; at home the inevitable happened: the shoes didn't fit. They made me look like cinderella's chubby stepsister. And  what was even worse; I didn't even like those shoes. Why on earth had I bought those monstrous things?

the label might be Graceland, but there's no grace in sight!

Well, a reason that may have played a small part here, was the fact that these shoes were black wedges, and I kind of needed black wedges for my work. But the major reason for my impulsive action was that I had suffered a severe case of thrift shop fever.

Thrift shop fever... that's what I call the temporary brain-malfunctioning that makes you buy really weird stuff in thrift shops. (I work in a hospital, I'm allowed to invent new diseases ;) ) It really only happens to me in thrift shops, but when it happens, oh boy.... ugly clothing in wring sizes, toys even though I don't have kids, incredibly tacky art..  Why does it happen? Is it the light, the atmosphere, or the comparison of even uglier items that make those things look good?

Well, anyway.. Since I was stuck with a pair of ill-fitting and ugly heels, I might as well have fun with it, didn't I?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Baste and dye: the tale of a lost shirt

Once upon a time, a plain green shirt hung on a clothesline in a quiet backyard. It was a cold and windy winterday and there was nobody in sight. The shirt dangled in the wind. But the wind became stronger and stronger, pulling the shirt back and forth until... it finally managed to pull the shirt from the clothesline. It went flying through the air, until it finally landed on top of a pile of wood in the back of the yard. 

There it lie, unseen. days went by...Until, one day the owner of the shirt walked through the garden and saw a glimpse of faded green on top of the pile of wood. She climbed on top of it to investigate it and saw the shirt, faded by sun and wind. She exclaimed " oh my shirt! thou art faded!"

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A dog toy made from scraps

My parents own a dog. Not just any dog; a BIG dog. Her name is Benthe.
"That will be me!!"
I can tell you a lot of stories about Big Benthe, but I won't do that since this blog is about making things, not about dogs. So I won't tell you about that time she ran away while still being attached to a bicycle rack, and subsequently had an entire French village in uproar. Nope, definitely won't tell about that ;)

But what I can tell you about her is that she loves to chew on stuff. A lot. And if there are no dog toys around, She'll happily go off and search for something else to chew on, like gloves.

In order to stop her from chewing on all my dad's working gloves, I decided to make Benthe a little present. And I had just the material for it: scraps.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Trash chique! Shrinking plastic trash into jewelry.

I pride myself for making things out of trash. Thing is, usually the materials I use are not exactly trash. Tacky, old and unloved maybe... but if you can still find it in a thrift shop, it's not trash, is it?

Well, today that is going to change: I'm going to make jewelry from plastic that I actually saved form my garbage bin. Yucky, you say?
Behold the magic of shrinking plastic!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From canvas to clutch

"Really...?" The cashier of the thrift shop said hesitantly. "We also sell really nice bags over here. And they are quite cheap" and she pulled a black, pleather clutch with rhinestones in sight. 

She had seen me wandering around in their thrift shop, buying strange items every time, so when she asked me about it, we came to talk about my projects of transforming thrift finds into something new. And now I had asked her if she had a canvas painting somewhere that I could transform into a clutch. She clearly thought that I was out of my mind. Resizing a skirt or a dress was one thing, but making a clutch out of a painting, that was plainly berserk. 

But as I kept insisting ( also in an attempt to escape the horrendous clutch that she was trying to set me up with) she eventually complied, and I went home with a canvas artwork that she had sold to me for 50 cents.

and of course -crazy or not- I made a clutch from it! Here's what I did. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Giveaway Tuesday... the results!

Hi there!

First of all, thank you all for responding and e-mailing me, I love reading your responses to my blog!

Today I'll choose the 3 winners of the giveaway!
For a few days, it looked as if my poor family would be the only ones receiving my postcards, but after this weekend, they got quite a bit of competition :)

So let's start with it!
Broen, will you be my sparkling assistant?

"Sure thing!!"

I like to keep things old-fashioned, so I wrote all your names on pieces of paper and tossed them in a bowl.

And the winners are.... (drumroll...)

Monday, March 7, 2016

(up)-cycling in the rain.... the waterproof beanie cap!

There are two things you should know about the Netherlands before you understand the necessity of today's refashion:

1- Dutch people love cycling
2- It's always raining

Unfortunately, those two things don't really match. Not that we don't use our bikes when it rains -we do- but in general, I like to arrive without looking like I've been kidnapped by a giant octopus or something alike.
The general solution to this problem is simply pulling your hood up when it's raining. But as I will demonstrate, that is one crappy solution. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

upcycling everything into jewelry

Yesterday I visited my parents' house. Not only is their home one of my favorite places in the world, it is also a sort of museum of all the things that I have made over the last two decades. Many of the things that I've made over the years are still there ( luckily, my mum is bad at throwing stuff away). One of the things that caught my attention this weekend was my collection of handmade jewelry with upcycled materials, so I figured that I might share some of them with you.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Oh my, is that a Rembrandt on your bag?" Needlepoint becomes shopper bag!

"Are you sure about that one?" the cashier of the thrift store said, raising one eyebrow while looking skeptically at the items that I was buying. She wasn't talking about the sweet pair of high heels (new! can you believe my luck?) or the couple of storage cans I wanted to buy. No, the reason for her eye-brow action was a framed embroidered artwork, depicting some medieval, bearded man doing whatever bearded medieval men usually do. By the look of it, it had been in the thrift shop for ages. I could feel the hesitation of the cashier: the thing was incredibly ugly. But I bought it nevertheless. Was I out of my mind? Maybe, but I had great plans for it: making a shopper bag!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

you've got mail... + a giveaway!

I remember how I used to love getting mail as a child. Because as a child, there existed only two kinds of mail: postcards and letters, which are both great. I really couldn't understand why my parents didn't like mail as much as I did, especially not those in the pretty blue envelopes. Well, at least now I understand..

But I still love postcards, so I jumped up in enthusiasm when my former housemate told me about postcrossing. Mail that did not consist in bills and 50 shades of bureaucracy? I was in!

The idea behind it is very simple: whenever you feel like it, you request an address, write a postcard to someone somewhere in the world. Then, after a while you receive a postcard from someone else. You don't keep in touch, you don't have to write when you don't feel like it, you just occasionally send and receive postcards :)

Today I decided to send some postcards. Only trouble was that our stash of postcards consists out of horrific cards. It was bad, really bad. Over the years we had picked all the acceptable ones out, and what was left was a staple of pure horror. Like the cards that you wouldn't even send to your least favorite family member. So, of course, I decided to paint some of them by myself. I mean, why walk to the shop if you've got paint? Here's a few that I made: