Monday, 28 December 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around...

I hope that your Christmas were as lovely as mine were. Have a look below to see some of the handmade gifts that I made for my family and friends and handmade and handmade-related presents that waited for me under the tree.

What goes around...
1. Crochet doilies, 2. Snowflake, 3. Bracelets, 4. Gloves, 5. Crochet hat, 6. Snowflake, 7. snowflakes, 8. Crochet hat with a snowflake

...comes around.
1. Shot Glasses from Etsy, 2. Jewellery Set from Etsy, 3. Books, 4. Photos from Bieszczady, 5. Fused Glass Plater, 6. Supplies

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Just Before Christmas I Think of Spring

Christmas is in a few days (YEY!) and all the handmade gifts are finished. I really cannot wait to see how my family and friends will like all the goodies I...that is Santa Clause...made for them.

Anyway, this pre-Christmas period was like a great craft workout. I made a lot of things in a short period of time. Each item was crafted with the thought of specific person in mind and it was a really fantastic and invigorating experience.

Now, that all the Christmas gifts are done, I can put my newly formed craft biceps to further use: 2010 LifeCreative Jewellery Collection!

I have 1000 ideas using the team of flowers. I plan to use rich, vivid colours and mixed media to create textured, lively pieces for girls and women of all ages.

A few sketches have already been put down on paper and some items started. But as my Christmas gift to you I decided to share the photos of my first necklace from the new collection.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

This is my sacrifice to the gods of weather so that they may be so kind as send us snowy Yule this year! Pretty please :)
The photos are of snowflakes I crocheted recently and of beautiful snowy days in Aarhus, DK.

1. snowflake, 2. snow in Aarhus, 3. snow in Aarhus, 4. snow in Aarhus, 5. snowflake, 6. snow in Aarhus, 7. snowflakes, 8. snow in Aarhus

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Honey Vodka for Cold Winter Nights

The weather here in Denmark is truly sad nowadays. It's wet and grey and there is not much sun at all. So to get myself up I decided to brew me Honey Vodka!!!

It is a fantastic drink to savour in the long, dark, winter evenings. It warms you right up. And it smells like Christmas :D

PS. Because of the lack of light, I did not take any pictures myself. The image above is curtsy of Kacper (accessible under Creative Commons licence). Click on the photo to see it on Flickr.

Honey Vodka Recipe:
- 0,5 l. vodka (you can use spirit instead if you like it stronger)
- 1 glass of honey
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbls of grounded coffee
- spices (carnation, ginger root, cinamon bark, nutmeg, vanilla pod...etc. - you should experiment and find your taste).

- Warm honey on a slow fire till it becomes clear (use saucepan with thick bottom)
- Add 1/2 glass cold water
- Add grated peels of 2 organes and 1 lemon
- Cut organges in slices and add them too
- Add juice from half a lemon
- Add spices and adjust for taste
- Brew coffee in 3/4 glass of water and add it to the saucepan (but without grinds)
- Boil everything together and then cool it all down
- Pure it in a large jar and store it in a cold place.
- After two weeks
strain through a fine sieve and store the clear liquor for another two weeks.

And enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Flickr Mosaic

My flickr mosaic curtsy of a great tip by Carina from Carina's Craftblog

1. IMG_3526, 2. Crocheting on Cam, 3. colors, 4. 3flowerbrooch1, 5. 3brown1, 6. IMG_3585, 7. One pumpkin..., 8. IMG_2474, 9. earrings, 10. IMG_3596, 11. IMG_2633, 12. IMG_2591

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Paper Craft: Christmas Decorations

Now, ordinarily I am not the biggest fan of paper crafts. They just me. But, when you think about this, what better time to create temporary pieces of arts, than Christmas.

There is a long tradition in Poland of cutting shapes out of paper (see: here and here) and so every kid at school gets to do at least a couple around various holidays. So I sat down yesterday and, willing my brains to remember the school times, I made these snowflakes:

They look lovely in the window, unfortunately the weather outside is not very Christmas-y (grey skies and rain) and so the picture is nowhere near pretty enough.

I thought I will also take the time and show you how I made it (especially since it is not very difficult).

1. Take a piece of paper and fold one corner to the side.

2. Cut off the outstanding piece of paper so that you are left with a square.

3. Fold square along the diagonal line (now you have a triangle).

4. Fold it 2 more times, every time joining the 2 furthest corners.

5. Now you can start cutting. Many minute cuts make for the most intricate shapes.

6. Unfold and voila!
7. To straighten the folds, you can iron your snowflakes or keep them overnight in a thick book.
8. Connect snowflakes with white thread. You can hang them on the window frame or use as garlands.

Note: You can fold the triangles more times, it's all up to you. You can also use any symmetrical shapes (circles, hexagon etc.)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Christmas sneak a peak

Ok, so it is finally December and so it's time for my first truly Christmas post. The only problem is that for that I cannot blog about the projects I worked on for the last three weeks! Why? Real Santa doesn't give and least not in advance.

And so I suffered in silence with so many lovely items in front of me. And I so wanted to share it with you.

And finally today I snapped. Here is a sneak peak into two beautiful projects. You cannot see the entire item but at least you can enjoy the lovely crisp blues. I am also particularly proud of the texture of both items. The yarn feels soft under your fingers, but the way it is knotted provides for a very interesting, 3D effect.

Working on the projects, I have also discovered an interesting thing about my creativity. Namely, I am much more inspired and work faster when the item, I am making, is for a person I know. Not only my creative juices flow in abundance but I am also more motivated to work. Very rewarding.

Maybe this is the trick for the future. Always work with a person in mind.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Hopenhagen - become a citizen

On the 7th of December representatives of 129 countries will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to take decisions regarding climate change.

By signing this UN sponsored petition you can help the leaders to realise how important climate protection is to the citizens of the world.

Don't miss out on the chance of having your voice heard. Become a citizen!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Book Review: Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs

Full Title: Beyond the Square - Crochet Motifs. 144 Circles, Hexagons, Triangles, Squares, and other Unexpected Shapes.
Author: Edie Eckman
ISBN: 978-1-60342-039-6
Pages: 202
Language: English
Flickr Search: Eckman crochet motifs
Buy it:

Content: Imagine - Quick Start Guide - Crochet Motif Workshop: A Word About Yarn; Sizing and Gauge; Following Instructions; Reading Charts; Getting Started; Beginning the Round; Ending the Round; Color Considerations; All Those Ends!; Joining Motifs; Principles of Flatness; Taking it to the Next Level; Edgings; Make it Your Own; Designing with Motifs - Circles - Hexagons - Triangles - Squares - Unusual Shapes - Appendix - Index - Stitch Key

How the book is organised:
The book is divided into two main sections: workshop and motifs.

The first part contains a brief introduction to crocheting in general and to stitching motifs in particular. The author provides a wide variety of useful technical tips on matters such as joining blocks, ending or shaping your work. Additionally reader will find inspiring notes on choosing colours and creating your own designs.

The second part of the book focuses on particular motifs: circles, hexagons, squares, and unusual shapes - 144 instructions in total. Each motif gets its own page with the colourful picture, clear graphical diagram and text instruction. Descriptions of motifs are meticulous and very easy to understand.

Strengths of the book:
1. Clear, easy to read instructions
2. Clear page layout
3. Great tips for crocheters

Weaknesses of the book:
1. Not all designs are aesthetically well done
2. Some motifs are repetitive
3. Despite its introductory part, this book is not suitable for beginners
Edie Eckman's book is one of my favourite crochet compendiums for two reasons. First of all it is a fantastic tool for someone who, like me, loves to design their own creations. You can mix and match your favourite motifs and come up with brilliant ideas, just by browsing the book. It is really inspirational!
And second of all, you have to love a book that contains dedication: For Mom, with Love :)
These, combined with the very good quality of instructions and diagrams results in a fantastic book for intermidate and proficient crocheters.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Shop Re-Opened!

Yey! After a few months break my etsy shop is opened again. Very exciting!

I started with relisting my old favourites. You will also find a new line of 80s style earrings.

And the best things is that if this Saturday and Sunday you spend at least $8 in my shop you will get the shipping free!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Buy Handmade Pledge

I Took The Handmade Pledge! I pledge that this Christmas all the gifts I give will be handmade. I will make as many of them as I can myself. The ones I cannot make myself, I will buy from independent artists and crafters.

I will also ask for handmade gifts from my family and friends.

If you want to ensure that handmade market is alive and kicking, do the same. Go to, sign the pledge and post the pledge banner on you website.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Silkeborg Puppet Festival: The Opening

Yesterday night, I had the chance to participate in the opening performance of Silkeborg Dukketeater Festival. Thalias Kompagnons proposed an unforgettable rendition of Mozart's Magic Flute.

Tristan Vogt and Joachim Torbahn chose an unorthodox method of communication with the audience - namely by video camera. Not only did we have the chance to see puppets acting on the large screen, but also the, usually backstage, workshop of the puppeteers.

My first thought, when I saw the screen and the camera, was: why are those guys giving up the biggest advantage that the theatre has over television - live audience interaction?!? Turned out, they didn't. Not only did the troupe interacted with the audience, not only Tamino and Papageno winked at us from the screen, but also Daniel Gloger - contre tenor, who sung almost all the parts - acted with his entire self. It was fantastic!

Thalias Kompagnons combined new media technologies, sketchy decorations, simple puppets and loads of creativity. And the result was an uncanny feast for imagination and a healthy portion of laugh.

After the performance, I found myself inspired to dive into the world of puppetry - I've got to tell you, this is a whole different kind of craft!

Photo curtsy of this website.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Celebrating Autumn: Pumpkin Buns

Don't they just look delicious? I baked these pumpkin buns yesterday and, despite it being my first time, they came out quite nice. They are very soft and airy inside and they have this amazing aroma of cardamom (even though I added much more cinnamon and clove). They taste fantastic with smelly soft cheeses and gruyère although I must say I like them with apple and ginger jam as well.
The only disadvantage is that the pumpkin taste is completely lost in them...pity. Anyway, I found the recipe here - well of cooking and baking inspirations! I promise to translate it for you in the next few days so stay tuned.

Friday, 6 November 2009

My Creative Space and New Project

I haven't had my own, properly separated creative space since I was a school kid. But in our new apartment there is a spare room where we keep all the mess and two desks. And I've got to tell you, it feels fantastic to be able to arrange my own piece of room in exactly the way I want it. My creativity level spikes immediately when I sit in my chair and in front of my desk. It is just great!
Examples of my creativity spikes include polymer clay beads, embroidery project, textile jewellery and wild hoards of images of bags, bracelets, hats and buttons. Now I only have to sit down and work on all of this - see you in a few years :D

Friday, 30 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: Colors

Colors are God's way to help us deal with the gloom of autumn. Below are some colorful inspirations from today morning's walk in the park. Enjoy!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: And What if I Get Ill

It is hard to celebrate or enjoy autumn if you have to do it from your bed with a sore throat, headache and 40C degree fever. In the capricious autumnal weather it is easy to catch a cold. Luckily, nature provides us as well with a lot of natural remedies and immune system boosters. Today 3 ideas of how to go through the fall using your own kitchen stock.

The Terrible Mixture

What for:
Sore throat, general cold and muscle soreness. Garlic has the qualities of natural antibiotics and can kill germs! Ginger and honey smooth the aching throat and lemon provides your system with C vitamin.

1. garlic
2. ginger root
3. honey
4. lemon

1. Chop garlic and ginger
2. Pour hot water over it and let it brew for 5 minutes
3. Add lemon and honey
4. Drink while warm

Onion Milk

What for:
Does wonders for sore throat.

2. milk

1. Peal onion and cut it to several pieces
2. Boil the onion in milk
3. Drink milk while hot

4. You can add honey to sweeten the drink

Zombie Elixir

What For:
Kills the germs and makes sure your cold won't develop.

1. 40% vodka (any kind, the taste really shouldn't be your main concern)
2. 250g of garlic

1. Chop garlic
2. Pour alcohol over choped garlic and keep it in closed jars for two weeks. The jars should be kept in warm place, possibly in the sun.
3. After two weeks throw away the garlic and keep the alcohol (it will reach the color of muddy kiwi juice...yummy)
Hint: don't use jars or bottle you actually like - you won't be able to get rid of the garlic smell.
4. When you feel a cold is coming on drink 10 drops of elixir in a glass of water before every meal.

Remember: the remedies work and can support your immune system in fighting the head cold but they are not a substitute for medical advice in case of prolonged illness.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: And All That Jam...

So I live near this botanical garden, which is in fact a big park, and no one pick up the apples from the trees in there ... anyway, long story short: I had a few spare apples on my hands. I am not the biggest fan of jams, jellies, marmalades etc. but the apples were a bit too sour to eat them like just like that - so jam it is. The recipe below was taken from Polish newspaper but then considerably modified and adjusted by me.

The recipe for Spicy Apple and Ginger Jam (For roughly1,5l of jam):

1kg apples
300g of ginger (or less if you don't like the jam too spicy)
500g sugar (or less if you don't like your jam too sweet)
1 table spoon of dried ginger
a few cloves
3 table spoons of cinnamon
(you can also add vanilla or cardamom - depends on your taste)

1. Peel and cut the apples removing the seeds and put it in a large pot
2. Peel and cut ginger and add to apples
3. Add 0,5l water and boil until soft (around an hour). Don't boil it too hard and consider adding more water if you see there is not enough left in the pot (don't overdo it or you'll make the jam too watery)
4. Add spoonfuls of sugar and stir. Add as much sugar as you think is necessary for your taste.
5. Add the spices and stir - let it boil for another 10 min.

If the jam comes out too watery you can either boil it longer until the water steams away or you can add a bit of jelly fix powder.

Ginger has the tendency not to get entirely soft during boiling - if you prefer you can put the apples and ginger into food processor before cooking or use hand blender after.

6. Put the warm jam into clean jars. Screw the tops tight and boil the jars in hot water for 10 minutes - the jam is now pasteurized and can keep in closed jars for up to one year.

This jam is ok for sandwiches, waffles and crumbles but I also like to add it to my black tea.

Let me know if you tried this recipe and what came out of it!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Celebrating Autumn: The Pumpkin

First of all, I love pumpkins! This is what it will say on my grave...or at least in my post-mortem biography.

I love everything about pumpkins: the colors, the shape, the smells and the tastes. And most of all I love the fact that so few people in Europe know what to do with pumpkins which makes them at cheap and, at the same time, exotic food.

There are many pumpkin varieties but here in Denmark you can only buy two kinds of pumpkins, the halloween kind (they are destined to end up as jack-o-lanterns) and the hokkaido. The former one is watery, large and very cheap and is perfect for pumpkin curry soup (recipe below) and the later is more expensive but sweet and is prefered for the pies.

So, the other week I took a trip to a place called Bazaar (a topic for whole other post) and bought myself some pumpkin, Baby! And here is what I did with it.

Jack-O-Lantern/Halloween Pumpkin Preparation

1. Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seed nest with a spoon
2. Roast it in the oven, skin up, for 1h at 180C - remember to roast pumpkin in a deep dish. It will give out a lot of juice and can flood your oven otherwise.
3. After an hour check if the pulp is soft and let the pumpkin cool down
4. Scoop out the pumpkin pulp, divide it in portions and freeze for further use

Sweet and Spicy: Pumpkin Curry Soup

You will need:
- pumpkin pulp
- curry powder (or ingredients for curry powder)
- olive oil
- onion - sliced
- 2 carrots - sliced
- 2 potatoes - sliced
- you can also use other root vegetables such as celeriac or parsnip
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up the oil in a large pot, add curry powder and let it fry for 2 minutes
2. Lower the heat to medium and add onions
3. When onions are glossy add carrots and potatoes (and any other roots) and steer well
4. Add pumpkin pulp
5. Add water and boil till the vegetables are soft
6. Blend the soup and spice it to taste (cayenne pepper fits well with this soup)

You might also want to add some vegetable stock with the water. You can also use fresh (not roasted) pumpkin - in that case cut pumpkin in smaller pieces and remember that it will take a little but longer to boil until soft.

Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds or garlic bread croûtons (mhhhmmm).

Monday, 5 October 2009

What is Craft?

--A craft is a skill, especially involving practical arts. It may refer to a trade or particular art. [Wikipedia]
--trade: the skilled practice of a practical occupation;
--skill in an occupation or trade;
--make by hand and with much skill;

But do these definitions accurately describe the present day phenomenon of craft? Is cooking a craft? Is baking? Jam making? Hair styling? And what about blowing circles out of cigarette smoke? What do you consider a craft? What definitely is not? Do you have your own definition that describes the concept better? I would like to hear from you before I tell you what I came up with. Leave comments and take part in the poll to let me know what you think.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Not Really on Holidays

I haven’t been posting much in the last 2 weeks, my twitter activity has also gone waaaaay down and my Etsy shop is closed. But, despite how it looks like, I am not on holidays.

I have now finally moved to Denmark and my days are filled with unpacking and arranging, cleaning and sorting out.

Also my crafty activities have now been replaced with window cleaning and soaping of wooden shelves to smooth out the surface (which is btw. a very interesting process and I will write about it more, once the shelves are finished and I can see the result with my own eyes).

So, due to all the work that is still left to do at our new home and the fact that I do not have internet connection for now, I will post less for the next few weeks. To make sure you will not abandon me during this time, here comes a few lovely pictures from our trip to Pułtusk near Warsaw and down the river Narew. Please, make note of the fact that we did this trip on the 26th of September...have a look at the colors and the weather.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Protest Post: Let Christmas be in December

Christmas related items have already started to pop up here and there, on craft portals and blogs. Pretty, felted Christmas trees and Santa Clauses, embroideries with elves and so on and so forth. Despite the fact, that these creations are often very beautiful and/or interesting, I REFUSE TO GET INTERESTED. It is SEPTEMBER, people! Why ignore September? Why ignore autumn? It is after all, the most beautiful time of the year (at least in some countries)!

I have decided that I will ignore Christmas until December and instead lead "Love Your Autumn" campaign. Send me your beautiful autumn pictures or post them on your blogs and link back here! For starters, here are some warm colors of Polish September.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Reading Meme - Celebrate Books

Today, I read this post by Snowbell and, because I love reading, I decided to do the Reading Meme as well.

Books accompanied me since my first days of life. Before I was old enough to do it myself, my parents took time every evening to read a piece from Tove Jansson's The Exploits of Moominpappa or the fantastic Polish adventure series Pan Samochodzik. My books and reading habits define me as a person and can say a lot about me. So here comes a part of my soul.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
I don't do that. I am usually too absorbed to even change position when my back starts hurting. I can't even count the times I missed the bus stop...

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I don't have any scruples about marking in books although I mostly only do it to my university texts.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
I tried to get into the habit of caring a bookmark with me but it never really worked. I can't remember to put it back in after I'm done reading and certainly I can't remember to move it from book to book. Most of the time I simply remember the page number.

Laying the book flat open?
Yes, I do it. Shame on me, I know.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

I think the majority of books I read are fiction. But I also enjoy an occasional history book, or psychology and communications related publications. And one cannot forget all my crafts books.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard copy! My partner has an e-book reader (he reads a lot of big, fat programming manuals and it's better for his back to have them on small e-reader) and I tried to get to like it but no such luck. I like to touch and smell an old paper book.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
It really depends on a book. I remember reading The Horse Whisperer during one night but now, when I am older and have more patience, I take my time savoring books.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
No, unless a word really buggers me and I cannot understand it from the context.

What are you currently reading?
I'm enjoying the fact that I am back in Poland and have easy access to Polish literature. I'm swallowing book after book from Polish fantasy and classics. At the moment I'm reading Widmokrąg by Wojciech Kuczok and Homo bimbrownikus by Andrzej Pilipiuk. Additionally I have a few non-fiction books started, Online Marketing Inside Out by Brandon Eley and Shayne Tilley and Guerrilla Marketing by
Jay Conrad Levinson

What is the last book you bought?
Widmokrąg by Wojciech Kuczok

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I guess the answer to this question is two questions up!

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I always read before falling asleep. Even when I am very tired I like to read at least a few pages (or even sentences). And other than that I love to read during long journeys by train. Nothing better than that!

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
No real preferences here. Although I do tend to buy books of the same authors again and again if I enjoy it.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
I love the early books of Jonathan Carroll. Especially The Marriage of Sticks

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
Hmm...mostly by genre and language (we have books in Polish, English, French, German and Danish) but we have no strict system here.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

How-To Tuesdays: Going in Crochet Circles pt. 1

One of the fundamental skills a crocheter should acquire is crocheting circles. This form provides basis for many crochet projects, is effective and, in fact, very simple to create.

Today I will show you the simplest method of starting crochet circle.

1. Crochet 6ch (in case you are using bulkier yarn, less ch may be in order)

2. Join the the last and the first chain loop by slip stitch. This is your foundation circle

3. Put the hook through the whole in the middle of your foundation circle. Pull yarn through so that you have two loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull it through the two loops. Repeat all around the foundation circle. You can make the stitches tighter or less tight depending on how many stitches you need.

4. When you have stitches all around the foundation circle, join loops with slip stitch and start next round. From the second round pull hook through back of first round stitches. You can use single, half-double or double stitches.

DO NOT forget to increase the number of stitches to keep your circle flat.