Monday, February 29, 2016

a hand-printed skirt

A while ago, I found a second hand grey skirt that was still in awesome condition. By the look of it, it probably had once belonged to a secretary. A quite boring secretary, that is. But since I have a bit of a soft spot for boring skirts (upcycling is so much easier when something is ugly in the first place!), I took it home with me.

There I decided to give it a little print. There are many techniques of doing so. You can buy stamps, or cut them out of some vinyl or a potato ( yes you've done that in pre-school, I guarantee it) 
Since I didn't feel like cutting stamps out of a potato, I decided to try it in another way: by cutting a form out of a chammy.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The shirt that became a beanie.

"Phew, I'm so happy you don't complain about the mess I create when I'm making stuff" I said to Joost, while looking at the pile of crafting supplies at the dinner table. It looked as if there had been an explosion.  It had been an incredibly productive weekend, but unfortunately, our table was a not so silent witness of my little projects.
"Mwah, don't care" Joost replied. " I'm quite sure you'll clean it up (-NO! HAHA-), and anyway, now you can make me cool stuff, like that beanie you promised me." Beanie? whoops. I had indeed promised that.

hmmm... what to do, what to do?

Then I sighed, balanced my sewing machine on top of the already existing pile of mess, and started.

just a little giftbox

Joost's father recently made a trip to China. When he came back he brought us two lovely Chinese cups. Since not only these cups, but also the box that they came in were very pretty, I thought that it would be nice to give the box a second purpose.

not pictured, but... it shimmers!!
So, when Joost was out of town for the evening, I grabbed some pencils and paint, thought a bit about what I would like to paint on it, and started painting.
I didn't want to put too much effort in it, and I sort of made an illustration up while painting it. It's not too special, but still, I had a nice evening watching some series while painting it.  

A jewelry box, a gift box..? I'm not sure yet.. 

kintsugi, the beauty of being broken.

Kintsugi ( or kintsukuroi) is a Japanese tradition of repairing broken pottery with gold. The idea behind this method, is that breakages are beautiful in themselves because they are part of the history of an object. This history, with all its flaws and lines, should be displayed rather than being disguised. 

My experience with western culture is that we are very reluctant about showing imperfections lines or history in all areas of our lifes. We are ashamed of the lines in our faces, our clothes must show no wear and tear, giving a guest a chipped tea-cup would be insulting, etc. Everything needs to be as good as new. I also often feel a bit ashamed for the fact that almost everything that I own is in some way second-hand.

Kintsugi - closely linked to the Wabi-sabi worldview- shows us a new refreshing perspective: that of showcasing flaws and history. I think we can learn a lot from this perspective. Therefore, when I broke one of my favorite plates -ironically one of the very few that was bought at Ikea instead of at a thrift shop-I decided to try my hand at Kintsugi. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Light bulb terrarium

When I woke up this morning, I decided that it was spring. Even the traces of night frost on the bedroom window didn't change that. It was spring. And spring makes two things inevitable: a desire for house-cleaning and an urge to buy loads of plants. 

So as soon as I was dressed, I went to the recycle centre to throw away the old, and to the garden centre to buy the new. While I was at the recycle station, I found a beautiful, really big light bulb. I figured "I should make something with that", and so me, my massive amount of plants, and the light bulb made our journey home, where I began to figure what to do with it. Many of you may have seen the cool light bulb vases that inhibit pinterest. But as I am more a plant-girl than a flower-girl, I thought: why not make a terrarium instead? Here's what I did!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Experiments. Painting on plastic: the ugly duckling brush

We all have those items in our home that are useful, but not specifically pretty. In my case a hot-pink plastic brush. It originates from my days as a student, and I think my mum bought it for me, since I can't imagine having bought something this pink for myself (sorry mum!) It once matched an equally hot-pink plastic dustpan, which has now magically disappeared. I still use it quite a lot. Unfortunately, I really have outgrown hot pink, but since I hate throwing away something that still works perfectly fine, I figured: Why not paint it?

In general plastic is not a material that easily allows you to paint it. The surface doesn't absorb the paint, thus the paint stays as a layer on top of it, which usually ends in a misery of scratching, flaking and horrors alike. But with some experimenting I've done over the past years (read: failing a lot of times), I learned that it can be done if you consider several guidelines.

For those of you who are now wondering: why spend so much energy a brush that costs only €1? You are right. But it was an experiment to see how easily you can paint on plastic items. And since I only used materials that I had leftover from painting the house, so it didn't cost me a thing. If you do buy a whole can of paint for a brush, I suggest you paint a frickin' masterpiece on it to make it worthwhile. Got something ugly that you want to paint? Here we go!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

experiments: DIY liquor recipes.

Hey! Guess what? Yesterday Joost and I got united in a registered partnership! Which means in Dutch law that we kind of got married, but then without the "fluff" of marriage ( I know, you can of course also do marriage without fluff, but we saved that option, just in case we need some fluff in our future life). And it was great! Even though the official procedure took less time than ordering a big mac in the drive-through lane, it is a reason for celebration and therefore this post is -again- an alcoholic post!

Remember that I made the pumpkin spiced liquor? Well, after that recipe, Joost and I invented some new ones, simply by tossing coffee beans, spices, candy and all kinds of things into gin, and see what would come out of it. And now, in the light of celebrating our recent bond, we bravely volunteered and tasted a whole bunch of different recipes. Below the recipes and their results!

Monday, February 15, 2016

The world in close-up

Sometimes making something beautiful just means discovering it: looking different at your surrounding and suddenly seeing the beauty of it. This is why (and when) I love photography: because it is able to capture the beauty of things that are not trying to be beautiful. They just are. 
In this post some of my own discoveries of beauty. I hope you enjoy!

Autun, France
Funasdalen, Sweden

Sunday, February 14, 2016

'everyone can be a princess'

My blog is on a roll today! It's valentines day today, so my loved one, known as Joost, and I are celebrating it properly by both working (and blogging, I admit) on our computers, while occasionally shouting inappropriate jokes to each other. My other loved ones are currently licking their own butts (my parents, okay... cats, cats!) so it is time for another blog.

My niece, Jinthe, is obsessed with princesses. She has her own incredibly cute version of 'Let it go' from Frozen ("Leddit goat..."), and dances around the house with a long scarf on her head to resemble Ranpunzel ("Rapoezzel") all the time. So last Sinterklaas (our Dutch december-tradition with gifts and poems) I wanted to give her a little princess for herself. But since I don't really agree with Disney or Barbie on what princesses look like, I wanted to give her a more down to earth version.  And so I did, with the inspiration of the beautiful lady behind Tree change dolls.

the rescued and painted chair

There are a lot of reasons why I am so fond of second-hand things. It's cheap, it's the best option for the environment, you don't stimulate child-labour or bad working conditions by buying it, and most importantly: finding a great second-hand item is adventurous: it's like treasure-hunting.

And I happen to love the adventure of treasure-hunting :)

DIY: Cushion case becomes Shoulder bag (2)

People who know me, know I am a bit of a hamster. Not that I sport a particularly furry face, or smell like sawdust ( at least, nobody has told me yet..) but I do like to carry things with me. I have done this since I was a little girl: making little "survival kits" that I carried with me. Nowadays, my survival kits have become a little more suburban, consisting in sketchbooks, pencils, books, a water bottle and so on. And since my cheeks won't stretch that far, I always need a bag to take all those things with me.

A week ago I posted this bag that was made from a cushion cover. But actually, that bag was only the first version of a bag that I made. Today, I show you how to transform a cushion cover in fairly easy steps into a nice shoulder bag!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

a small sendable gifts: a mini pluche cat.

I don't know whether it was something in the air, or it is just the fact that I have entered the second half of my twenties, but last year everyone around us seemed to be reproducing.
And thus last months the postman kept bringing us birth announcement cards. So, Joost and I were busy visiting all those new human beings, and writing numerous baby cards. 

Last week, when a friend of Joost became father of a baby girl, and since we were not able to visit the parents and their girl any time soon, I wanted to send a little something with our baby card. And then I had an idea: why not make something myself?

experiments: upgrading gin to pumpkin spiced liquor!

The morning after christmas leaves you often with a few things: a full stomach, a slight hangover, a kitchen full of dishes, but most important: it leaves you with a lot of leftover food and drinks. Really, A LOT.

This year, the christmas leftover did not only include a good amount of food, but also some bottles of alcohol. Dutch Gin ( jenever) to be precise. Thing is: I'm not a big drinker. I can't: anything over two glasses of wine is enough to make me grab a skateboard, lie down on it with and roll down the street while I try to persuade my friends for a game of human bowling. *Sigh* Not a pretty sight. So I tend to stay away from it.  And when I do drink, I definitely prefer wine or a nice glass of liquor over Dutch gin, which -I think- you can only drink when you wear matching corduroy trousers. So this bottle was probably going to live in my cupboard for a loooong time, until someone in corduroy trousers would eventually show up. So, then I had an idea: I upcycle clothes, furniture and basically anything: can't you do the same for alcohol?

"Yes you can!", said the internet. And there are quite a lot of recipes for doing so. Coffee Liquor, chocolate, apricot, strawberry flavor..All them possibilitiees! Since a was a little apprehensive of using fresh fruit ( risk of food poisoning if it goes bad), and I didn't find a recipe I completely liked, I made my own recipe: A liquor with pumpkin spice/ chai flavor!

Monday, February 8, 2016

DIY: Cushion case becomes shoulder bag.

You'll need:
- a cushion case made from sturdy fabric with a zipper (Mine was an old cover from Ikea, size 50x50)
- a piece of carton, approx. 25x40 cm. 
- a piece of fabric, approx. 25x40 cm.  
- Duct tape or something alike. 
- something that can be used for straps. (fabric belts work really well) 

-sewing equipment. 

Level: fairly easy.

A while ago, I was making a handbag. While I was fiddling with zippers and side-panels, I thought: "Isn't there an easier way to make something like this?"

Of course, there are many tutorials on very simple tote bags or envelope bags, but I wanted a nice bag. With a zipper. And nice fabric. That was suitable for work and could carry some weight. And then I had an idea.

Cushion covers!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

On making things.

A while ago, I was a little addicted to Pinterest. And with good reason: Pinterest is a wonderland for grown-ups. A world where everyone's hair flows in gravity-defying ways, where baking soda fixes everything, where you can turn anything into a cake topper, where lasagna is low-fat, and where weddings have disney-like proportions but only cost a dime.

Oh pinterest-gal, you just have it all

IKEA HACK: Geometrical cat basket made from a lamp shade

- a JOXTURP lampshade from Ikea (€1,99)
- Glue ( I used all-purpose glue)
- tape ( I used a strongish kind of masking tape)
- if your cat is very fat: an extra lampshade or a piece of carton to cut an extra panel from.

optional materials:
- some thick, non fraying fabric to clad the inside with + sewing equipment
- paint/sharpies/pencils for decoration

level: easy

If there is anything in the world that our cat, Broen, loves more in the world than sleeping and bullying our other cats, it's boxes. He doesn't just like boxes, he LOVES them. Most ardently.

A word of welcome.

Welcome to this blog!

As a kid, there were two things that I loved to do more than anything in the world: making things and going on adventures.

But as I grew older, I sort of got infected with adulthood. So, my days of school and adventures became days of work and household chores. And my favorite things to do in the world became ( at least, so it seemed...) Sleeping, nagging about work, looking on the internet at houses I couldn't afford anyway.. you know the sort of thing. Until, one day I was fed up with it. This kind of adulting, I decided, really sucked. I didn't want to spend my entire evenings watching tv or doing chores.

I wanted to make things again. And I wanted to see the world again as I did as a child: as a place that has all the potential to become an adventure.

This blog contains my stories of making things. To hopefully inspire you to start making things, or just so you can laugh at my efforts :)

But hey! Before I start I should of course introduce you to the main characters of this blog!

Joking aside, I sincerely hope you will enjoy this blog. Feel free to comment, contact or repost!