Category Archives: Other Crafts

sewing basket

When I was visiting my grandmother recently she asked did I want to have her sewing basket? Since I already have her sewing machine (my lovely, lovely treadle) she didn’t need it anymore and of course I said yes!
sewing basket. tidytipsy
Isn’t it beautiful? It’s old of course and the wood looks a little tired and the veneer is chipped in places but I think it’s so pretty!
Inside, it was a real mess, obviously this is the collection from decades of sewing:
sewing basket. tidytipsy
So I went to work and a full 1.5 hours later everything was sorted and my own sewing stuff was mixed in with my grandmother’s treasures. Among her things were vintage belt buckles, tags monogrammed with my late grandfather’s initials, old wooden spools of thread and hundreds of colorful buttons.
sewing basket. tidytipsy
sewing basket. tidytipsy
The case has two drawers of which one is broken. I’m hoping the boyfriend will be able to fix it. I’m also planning on giving the whole thing a wood treatment (this has worked wonders on two thrift store chairs I have). Maybe I’ll also spruce it up a little (I’m considering a blatant copy of this stunning make-over).
sewing basket. tidytipsy
What do you think?

tablet sleeve tutorial

I had been thinking about getting a tablet for some time. Seeing as I still don’t have a smartphone I though it would be a nice on-the-go addition to my heavy laptop. So when Lauren got one and made a lovely case for hers and gave me a ton of great advice I just had to get one too! And the first thing I did was make a sleeve cover for it of course :)
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
I got some inspiration online and wanted to make something easy but functional.
Here’s what you need:
– felt in two colors
– needle and thread
– a big button
– some elastic
– fabric paint (optional)
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
First, measure your tablet and determine the size of your sleeve (I recommend adding 1/4″ seam allowance at each side as well as 1/4″ at the bottom). Cut all felt pieces to the correct size and lay on top of each other in the color combination you like and sew on three sides.
I initially wanted to sew it together by machine but the felt shifts a lot and in the end it was easier to just stitch it together by hand.
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
If you sew by hand make sure you double your thread for more stability. Make sure the layers stay precisely on top of each other and do not shift.
Sew a button on the front and determine the length of your elastic (it will be sewn to the back side on the inside of the sleeve). If you want the elastic to be a coordinating color you can paint it with fabric paint.
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
Sew on the elastic and admire your pretty new tablet sleeve!
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
felt tablet sleeve tutorial
Now for the tablet: I love it! I got the Google Nexus 7 (like Lauren, but I really did read some tests and comparisons online and it was the best by far). It has email, facebook, pinterest and google reader and I just love coming home late in the evening and not having to get out the big laptop but instead going straight to bed and just doing some blog reading and looking at pretty pictures on the tablet.
I also got an app for taking notes and using MS Office, so I can work with it as well. I have small hands so the 7″ size is perfect for me.
I guess I just got cool again ;)

first strawberries

The first local strawberries of the year, bought at today’s farmer’s market.

I had a craving for chocolate covered strawberries, so we made chocolate fondue and enjoyed every bite.


I’ve been busy potting and transplanting plants on my balcony, where finally there is some growth. My own strawberries will be carrying fruit soon:

These are conventional strawberries but just today my mom gave me some wild strawberry plants from her garden. I love the special taste of wild strawberries and it will be interesting to see how well they do in a container compaired to the ordinary ones.
There’s also mint, which I love…I cannot wait to have fresh mint tea and alongside my trusty and aromatic italian mint I bought some chocolate and orange mint this year. I’m also trying out some new (to me) plants like Anise Hyssop and Monarda this year.

In addition to the peppers and tomatoes, who are being hardened off this weekend, I’m growning some regional veggies like kohlrabi and broccoli this year.

Aside from having homegrown food to eat, getting my hands dirty planting and growing things in the fresh wind is just the kind of work that keeps me healthy and happy, when too much computer work has made me antsy.
Not that I don’t like my computer work…I’m happy with my photo editing and blogreading and such, as long as I can balance it with physical work.
And to change the topic completely onto something computer related: Now that I own a camera that can do video and after being involved in some video projects at work and with friends, I’m completely excited to try making and editing videos. I’ve spent a couple of hours trying out the function as well as editing the video in Photoshop (yes, you can actually edit video files in Photoshop!) and researching cutting software. Turns out there’s no freeware out there which works with the kind of files my camera produces (bummer!) so I’ll probably need to buy software for cutting. I’ll keep y’all updated…expect some cat and pony videos as my first tries :)

making chapstick

When the weather gets cooler my mind turns not only to knitting but also to making body products. I made chapstick already last year, but wasn’t overly happy with the recipe, so I tried a different one this year.

I used:
20% beeswax
25% coconut oil
15% cocoa butter
40% olive oil

No coloring, no scent, no smell. I actually like the faint smell of beeswax :) I was aiming for three or four tubes worth of chapstick and eyeballed the quantity. Now I’m not that good with numbers, so eyeballing was probably not the best idea in the first place. I made 50grams total, which turned out way too much (mental note: make only 25grams next year!) and ended up giving away the extra tubes to my work colleagues.

The process is very simple: 1. Melt the beeswax and cocoa butter in a boiling water bath.

2. Add the coconut oil and the olive oil (return to double boiler briefly if the beeswax solidifies again).

3. Pour it into the empty chapstick tubes and let it cool down.

Done! A great and simple chapstick to protect your lips from the cold in the coming months, without artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives etc. Since you’re only dealing with oil there is no need for preservatives. I only use my chapstick for a couple of months before making new one though.

inspiration day

We have this great rule at work that every employee can take one day a year off to do something inspiring for him/herself.
Normally that would involve going somewhere to see something or participate in a day course but I chose to spend my inspiration day at home with this book:

It’s a decorating book but different from any I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t give you tons of rules or advice to follow but makes you work hard at finding out, step by step, what you need, what you want and what you like.
The book is organized in 18 consecutive steps toward your dream room (it makes you tackle just one room). My goal was to complete the first 5 steps and I barely got finished in the one day, even though I had prepared beforehand and already compiled lots and lots of image inspiration on pinterest.
The first steps are discovering your aspirations (what do you want to do in the room), your functional needs (what do you need to realize your aspirations) and your emotional needs (how do you want to feel to do your aspirations). Now Meghan really makes you work here, filling out dozens of work sheets which can be downloaded on her website.

I picked the hardest room (naturally) and did a combined living and dining room.
Since functional needs can tell us what things we need to put in our room but we have trouble translating emotional needs to actual items of furniture/lighting/accessories etc., Meghan concludes we have to find a muse and a style to translate them. Once we find a muse (1 to 3 pictures that perfectly capture your emotional needs which you’ve written down) she helps you break it up into actual, usable information like shapes, patterns, colors, textures.

Sources: image 1 | image 2 | image 3

Image Source

Image Source

Once you’ve done that your next task is to look at hundreds of room pictures and pick the ones you love and that represents the feelings you’ve written down on your emotional needs worksheet. When you’ve got at least a dozen of those, you go about dissecting them much the same way.

Sources: image 1 | image 2 | image 3

By now you have gotten a pretty clear idea what you need and want and what items and characteristics can help you build a room that fits you and your needs perfectly.
There will likely be some surprises. For example I always thought I was a color person and my styles pictures very clearly showed a preference for the colors brown, cream and white. This tells me to stick to neutral colors for the big pictures and choose colorful items (with colors from my muse pictures) as eye catchers and accessories instead of covering a whole wall in them.
There were also things I knew subconsciously, like that I need to surround myself with natural, warm and smooth materials like wood and fabric, instead of sparkly, cool ones like glass and metal.
All in all, a perfect inspiration day for me and the things I found out about myself will come in very handy planning and decorating the new apartment. I probably won’t be following the next steps in the book as closely, simply because of lack of time. But before I start buying stuff and throwing it together because I have a vague idea it could look good together, I will read definitely through them and look things up and pause to consider and plan and match it up to my insights from this day.

focus 2011: thrifting

In January I posted some New Year’s resolutions and a couple of months on I think we haven’t done too badly. I’ll be addressing some things related to these resolutions in a couple of posts.
One of my resolutions for the year was simplifying the way we live. Part of that for me is to buy only things that are of real value to me. I love buying and having new things but I am trying to restrict shopping in everyday life. I love having one-of-a-kind and unique items in my home and be reminded of where they came from.
And there are so many sources for these! I’ll be talking about thrift stores in this post and tackle handmade items in another one to keep this post from getting enormous ;)
I go thrifting regularly with a friend. The stores we go to accept donations from everyone, so there is often tons of stuff there. Finding the treasures among it can be time consuming, but we love our treasure hunts!
In thrift stores you can often find wellmade and sturdy items for very little money.
Throughout this year I’ve replaced our chipped Ikea plates with lovely vintage plates, our generic glasses with printed 1970s glasses and fruit bowls with painted china bowls.
I especially love finding these pretty glass canning jars and using them to store flour, sugar, pasta and other stuff:

Painted china bowls and a silver fruit bowl:

A glass pitcher and some pretty glasses on a thrifted tray:

Less exciting, but sturdy and practical:

I sometimes find nice textiles as well, like bedsheets with a pretty pattern. I wouldn’t normally buy bathroom towels, but this cheerful towel with hearts all over it totally wanted to be my guest bathroom towel (not that we have a guest bathroom. But we are apartment hunting after all). Also, the kitty wouldn’t let me have a post without him of course.

And last but not least, these boxes will be holding tea and cookies. The stoneware in the background was also thrifted and holds loose tea.

I have this dream kitchen in my head where all of these mismatched but lovely items will be displayed on open wood shelves and look cool together. We’ll see :)

craft fair finds

Here the weekend has arrived again already! It doesn’t feel like the past week happened at all, at least I didn’t really register it between being home sick and then trying frantically to catch up at work. But I am getting better every day thankfully, though that cold really was very nasty!
Time to show off my purchases at last week’s craft fair, yarn and buttons and kitchen stuff!

This pan which was actually pretty hard to photograph, is a handmade from black iron / carbon steel / black steel, whatever you call it. I actually googled the material quite a while to find out its name. Anyhow, this is the material vintage pans were made of, it’s nonstick and needs to be treated like cast iron (but contrary to cast iron it’s very light), meaning seasoning it, not using any dishwashing liquid on it and keeping it dry. I still need to “burn it in” and then we will use it for pizzas and pies.

This is gorgeous handspun Wensleydale yarn. I bought two skeins and I am still deciding what to make with it. I’m thinking a triangular shawl like Amber’s beautiful one or another cowl (never seem to get tired of those!). Or maybe a nice 1930’s beret.

And, of course, new sock yarn! It’s a wool / bamboo mix and handdyed in lovely shades of steel blue with a hint of green and dark gray thrown in. It’s already on the needles :)

And last but not least six of these handpainted buttons went home with me as well. I have no idea what I’ll use them for yet, but no doubt I’ll think of something!

Quite a successful trip I should say!