Saturday, 5 December 2015

Sew Simple Christmas Wrapping


This year, my Christmas crafts are pretty limitted. It is mostly because we're visiting my family and so there is no Christmas tree and much Christmas decorations this year. But also, I am going a little bit crazy with sewing and knitting project for our bundle of joy coming in March. There will be a whole other post about sewing for our future baby but for now, you can have a quick look over here.

There is however one Christmas project that I jumped into and that is reusable wrapping for the gifts.

I am not the most environment-conscious person ever but there are many small things I like to do in my life to make our everyday life a bit more ecological and a bit less wastefull. My husband is vegetarian and I eat little meat, we compost our organic waste and try to plan our dinners and freeze leftovers so that we don't throw away food.

So this little project just felt like a great idea. Fabric wrapping is super easy so it's a great beginner's project. It looks lovely and gives your Christmas gifts that extra personal touch. And of course, the wrapping can be reused and so it keeps your holidays a bit more environment-friendly.

Instructions

So here is what you do:
  • Measure the height and width of your gift. Remember to add the depth of the gift to both height and width if it is of any significance.
  • Add 5 cm to the height and 2 cm to the width of the gift to figure out the measuremants of the frabric piece, you're going to need. Remember that you will have to cut double the height. The extra 5 cm are used making tube for the ribbon and leaving space for gathering the sack. The extra 2 cm are for seam allowance (see the pattern below).  

Et billede slået op af Maria Lind (@mariafurya) den
  • Cut the piece of fabric, fold it evenly, right side in and sew them together along the long edges, on the 1cm seam allowence mark.
  • Cut about 4 cm of the fabric on the outside of the seam from the top of the wrapping. This will allow you to wrap the top of the fabric to the outside, producing the ribbon tube. You can decide yourself, how broad the tube needs to be. It will depend on the size of the ribbon you want to use. I am folding about 3 cm and sewing 1 cm from the edge to leave 2 cm tube.
  • Sew a seam all around the tube, fastening it's outer edge to the fabric.
  • Turn the sack right side out and cut the tube in the middle of one side making and opening for the ribbon. Make sure you don't cut the bottom seam though!
  • Use a safety pin to pull the ribbon through the tube.
  • Et voila! The wrapping is ready.
This is the simplest possible wrapping type, the sack. If you are feeling brave you can look for other types like this lovely bottle package.

Enjoy your crafting and have yourself a Merry Christmas!

Et billede slået op af Maria Lind (@mariafurya) den







Saturday, 14 November 2015

3 Favorite Recipes for this Autumn

Each season of the year has a different taste for me and a different set of favorite recipes. I make them every year, sometimes with variations.

Spring tastes of young vegetables and Easter cakes, Summer of rhubarb pies, cherries and butter beans, and Winter has all those amazing spiced cookies, mulled wine and the Polish "ryba w galarecie" (fish in jelly - way better than it sounds).

But Autumn, oh Autumn! I think taste-wise it is my favorite season of the year. The spices, the pumpkins, the squashes, the plums, the apples...ohhhh boy.




These year, my favorite Autumn recipe collection has been extended by the following 3 recipes:

1. Pumpkin Truffles


A yummy vegan dessert that's an essence of Autumn. I added peanut butter to my version (what doesn't taste better with peanut butter, eh?).


2. Butternut Squash Muffins


This is a Jamie Oliver recipe from his 30-minutes-meals series. They take me a bit longer to make but they are super easy and a big hit with friends and family.



3. Roasted Cauliflower, Leak and Carrot Soup


Delicious, hearty and warming creamy soup for the cold Autumn evenings. Perfect for the vegetarians but if you are meat inclined, add some crunch bacon, shrimps or even chicken - yummy!

And as a bonus, I have started baking my sourdough bread again. I heart Autumn! 


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The First of Many Onesies

The approaching arrival of Peanut (see post before) gives me a great excuse to throw myself into the whirlwind of crafting. After all newborns lack the ability to complain about the cutesy outfits with uneven seams you put them into.

So far I knitted a baby hat, a sweater (my first one!), a blanket and I'm in the process of crocheting another sweater.

But the item, I am most proud of is a baby onesie I sew this weekend during a sewing class. I was planning to also make baby harem pants that weekend but the original project took the entire class. I am just that good :D.

It was a challenge, as my sewing projects so far included pillow covers. You know, the one-square-and-two-rectangles-kind, the kind for which you only need one kind of fabric and straight seam. Onesies, on the other hand, have plenty of curvy lines, along which you need to sew the ribbing. It is also composed of a minimum of 4 elements that need to be put together and sew in a particular order. I will spare you the retelling of how many times I had to cut the seam and do it again, but it did take the entire weekend to make a onesie!

The pattern I used for the onesie was from Minikrea and I bought the fabric at CityStoffer shop in Aarhus. They have a great selection of children fabrics.

The fabric I chose for pants has a happy monkey pattern and I am going to use this pattern for it.

In any case, I had great fun and it will definitely lead to more onesies and baby clothes in the future.
My proud and glory: the onesie.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Operation Code Name: Peanut

A little time ago we found out that our family will become a bit bigger in March 2016. The working title is operation code name Peanut. Or, if I don't feel so well, code name Monster. We are, of course, exceptionally happy and excited about it. Part of my excitement shows, as it is easy to predict, in preparations.

I have already knitted a trial-hat and today I finished a play mat. It was intended as a cover, but it's knitted out of chunky wool/acrylic blend with cotton fabric sewed on so it is to heavy for a newborn.

It is my own design so I am very proud of it but there are a number of technical errors. The seams are not straight and the problem with acrylic and wool blend is that you can't entirely block it, so the knitted part stretches and contracts making the fabric bulge and fold at times.

But all in all it is a very decent first effort at this kind of project. I like that it is mixed media and mixed techniques. I will hopefully, if time allows it, play more with that and post the results here.

First came the knitted blanket itself. It was quick to make, thanks to how chunky the yarn was.



Then I washed, ironed and hemmed the fabric. That was probably the most bothersome part of the project. Straight lines and details are just not my strong suit. 


Once the fabric was ready, I packed the knitted blanket inside, fastened it with pins, making sure that the sides have a bit of a thicker border (think cheese crust in pizzas :)) and sewed it all together. 

I could have of course leave the blanket as it was but I used the fabric for two reasons. First of all, it makes sure that if the wool turns out to be to scratchy for baby's skin, I can use the fabric side instead. But even more so, the cotton with cute panda print makes the otherwise grey blanket much more child-friendly and joyful. 

The added benefit is of course that all the yarn tails and knots are just hidden between it and the fabric so I didn't have to sped time working them into the weave (you remember my dislike of details, right? :)).  

And here is the finished product. The light makes the fabric look grayish, but in fact it has a very pretty green/teal color.



I am a little nervous about how the blanket will behave in washing. Both elements were washed separately before combining but I am not sure if they won't continue to shrink and stretch independently of each other. And this could really mess up the shape of the finished project. 



Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Cakes

When I am stressed and tensed about something, there are a couple of activities that relax me. I found that the best combination is a manual activity that, nonetheless, requires some brain power. 

Books are great when I am just generally stressed. But when I am worked up over something, reading just doesn't cut it. My mind starts wandering away and circles back to the thing that got me upset in the first place. And my body stays tense. Same happens when I go for a run.

It has to be a combination of both, physical and mental activity, to really do the job. And one of the best things I found to help out with the tension is cooking and baking. Which is very lucky, cause I really love making something special in the kitchen. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no Donna Reed (if you don't get the reference, you clearly didn't spend hours and hours of joy watching Gilmore Girls, see: http://gilmoregirls.wikia.com/wiki/That_Damn_Donna_Reed). But I love to show off with a special dinner or dessert.

Here are a couple of my recent cake creations:








Starting from top left, these are:


  1. French rhubarb cake: http://www.mykitchenintherockies.com/2011/05/20/french-rhubarb-cake/
  2. Rhubarb and cinnamon muffins: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/cinnamon-rhubarb-muffins.aspx
  3. Blueberry raw vegan slice: http://www.choosingraw.com/raw-vegan-blackberry-cheesecake-bars/ 
  4.  Rhubarb scones (can you spot the pattern yet?): http://www.crumbblog.com/2010/05/tea-party-rhubarb-ginger-scones.html
  5. Chocolate, raspberry and vanilla mousse cake: http://www.sugarhero.com/chocolate-raspberry-mousse-cake/ 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Holidays at home. Project time!

It might be a stupid realization to have at age 30, but holidays don't always have to mean traveling. Ever since I remember, holidays were spent in far-(or not-so-far)-away lands, in tents, shelters, hotels and cabins of the world.

But it's a holiday week y'all! And yet for the first time in a long while it doesn't mean traveling for us. We love exploring new places and in the last couple of years we've spent our holiday time visiting Scotland, Portugal, Thailand, Germany, UK and Poland. And the list of places yet to visit keeps growing.

But this time we've decided to stay put and work on our love project, the house and garden. The first project on the agenda was the covered patio. The space is beautiful, gets a lot of afternoon sun and is surrounded by greenery so, understandably we love it.

Unfortunately, the previous owners left us with a poorly isolated flooring, covered with an ugly beige carpet. The carpet was all dirty (duh!) and the wooden construction underneath was half-rotten.

We removed the carpet and rotten plywood, put in new beams, isolated the floor and laid down hardwood floor suitable for outdoor settings. See the before and after photos below. Doesn't it look way better now?

And let me tell you, the feeling of working on the project together and accomplishing something that extensive with our own four hands is pretty damn great. Despite the fact that with have a very different ways of working, doing something like this brings us closer together and makes the house a little bit more into a home.




 All I need now is cozy, handmade carpet. I am thinking of this one or this one.

I also had some time to clean up a few more flower-patches and start the work on the kitchen garden. I planted rhubarb plants I got from my friends, american blueberry and elderflower bushes. I cleaned up raised-bed with herbs and dug vegetable patches, well at least part of it.

And oh boy, nothing charges my batteries like meditative work in the garden!



Saturday, 11 April 2015

Gardening

Since the spring has started for real in Denmark, we have started cleaning up our garden. We've only moved to the house last autumn so this is the first time we're seeing our paradise in this lovely season.

The garden is old and has it all: old trees, apple trees, bushes, grass and moss, flower patches, a shed and 3 patios/grilling spaces. It is a lovely piece of land but it hasn't been cared for for the last 2, maybe 3, seasons. It is therefore rather overgrown and needs a good deal of attention.

So far I am mostly working on weeding the flower patches and removing grass that has been crawling over on the patio spaces and Peter, my husband has been replanting and mowing the grass.

Once most of this is done, we can consider adding some new plants, building beds for edibles and planting herbs and veggies.

We are also looking into building our own patio furniture out of pallets but more about this later. Meanwhile here are some of the moments of our lovely day.