Friday, 31 May 2013

Bear skin quilt

Since forever I've had an idea of making a funky quilt shaped like a bear skin. I have no idea how long I've had this idea on the back of my head, but I have always thought that it is too childish thing to make just for me. But now since we are having a kid I finally had the perfect excuse to make the quilted bear skin. I'm sure this is not my original idea. I must have seen this somewhere, but because it was so long ago I do not know where I got the inspiration originally.

I searched an image of a real bear skin and decided on the size of the quilt. Then I just randomly chose to use squares of size 8 x 8 cm (3.1" x 3.1"). I have never made a quilt before so I chose to use a simple square shape, I did not want to stress myself with some elaborate pattern, and I'm really glad I did decide on a simple style. I estimated the amount of squares I needed and draw a bear skin shape on a big piece of paper. 

I cut the squares over some period of time. I just took random fabric left overs I happened to have and cut them up. Most likely I did against all rules of quilting and chose fabrics with varying materials, textures and thickness. First of all I did not have enough of similar fabrics and secondly I want the quilt to have different textures so that the kid is able to touch and get different feels from the quilt. 

For me the cutting of the squares was one of the most annoying things to do. I needed to be so precise and I don't do precise. Well finally I had enough of the squares and some extra ones and laid them on top of my paper pattern. I tried to lay them so that dark square would be next to light one and no colour was too close to similar colour. I even took pictures of the unfinished layout, somehow I see better from a picture if there is something wrong with the layout. I think I did miss some but that is fine.

Once I had the layout done I sewed the squares together. I was surprised how easy that was, I just had to be very consistent so I did not mess up the layout. Then when I had all the squares combined together I laid them on top of a white sheet and an old blanket. The white sheet is the backing of the quilt and the old blanket is the batting. I attached all three layers with safety pins and then machine quilted them together. I'm glad I again chose a very simple quilting style because I hated that job. Really, it was horrible. Even though the quilt I made is quite small it was really difficult to roll it into the sewing machine and the back thread had to be spooled so many times. I think I would have been happier choosing hand quilting although it would have taken longer. But really the machine quilting was not for me.

Once the actual quilting was done I cut the excess material off according to my paper pattern. I made a bias tape from the carrot under sheet we had and attached that on the edge. Then I just had to attach the ears and embroider eyes of the bear. I'm not too sure I'm that happy about the eyes, but I don't know how I should have done them to make the bear look more bear like. Or maybe it should have a nose embroidered. Hmm... any ideas?

But besides the eyes I think the bear skin quilt is really cool. And I think the size is just perfect. It's not too large so that it's easy to take along if needed but large enough for the kid to lie on it and turn once s/he is able to do that.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The mossy wool trousers

Before the baby news I had bought two coils of wool yarn, Schoppel wolle Reggae print. The yarn was really really expensive, but I liked the colour, it reminded me of moss and the texture was so nice, plus it was on discount. So I bought it even though I had no idea what I was going to make from it.

I have been reading a lot about cloth diapers and have desided to give them a try. I have mainly been reading this site (in Finnish) and a book Vaippailmiö by Tiina Törnström (only available in Finnish). In the book was a pattern of wool cover or trousers for cloth diapers. And what did I deside to do... I desided to make cloth diaper cover from the super nice, expensive yarn.

Now I must praise the yarn for a while... I LOVED knitting with it. I have never ever got such a nice knit from any other yarn, the surface of the knit is just so smooth and beautiful and because it was thick yarn I got the trousers done in no time. And no Schoppel wool didn't pay me anything to say this, I bought the yarn with my own money and thought it was expensive, even when it was on discount. I truly love the result I got when using that yarn and even though I can sometimes be really cheap this is a yarn I could buy again, maybe even without any discount... well let's not exaggerate...

The trousers were supposed to be long and narrow, because according to the book they will get wider in use, but if I wouldn't know that I would think the book assumes we are having a baby giraffe.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Carrot duvet cover for the kid

For our bed I do not qualify anything else than white linen. I love the fresh white feel of the bed linen, I think white just looks always good. But for the kid's bed, well that is a whole different story... 

For the kid I want colour and lots of it and when I discovered yet again the orange double undersheet from our linen cabinet and realized we are never going to use it in our own bed I desided to make a duvet cover for the kid from the sheet. I think the undersheet was originally A's parents, but it has moved long ago to A's own home and then to our home. I am normally quite ruthless when it comes to sheets and do donate them quite easily, but this undersheet has somehow survived. With the white short stripes it reminds me of a carrot and the sheet has always humoured me.

I used the sheet to make a carrot duvet cover for the kid. I love the old sheet in this purpose. I'm still left with a quite large piece of the undersheet, some of it will be used for one other project, but there might be few more projects coming with this carrot fabric.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Fixing my pyjama pants

The rubber band from my pyjama trousers had worn and torn the edge of the trousers and also the rubber band had lost all it's elasticity. I still love my NY pyjama pants and would not like to part with them, so I made some modifications to them. 

I used a serger to attach welt rib knit fabric on the waist and on the legs too. I have always been really annoyed that during the night the legs roll up to my thighs. But I did not really measure well when I attached the welt rib knit fabric because the waist is now really loose. I have to tighten the band to keep the trousers from dropping to my ankles. But maybe loose is good now. I might modify these again after the kid is born. Or I might make something for the kid from the trouser fabric since the fabric is already quite worn from the bum. 

Also sorry about the over exposed photo, it was a really super bright day when took these photos and I was too lazy to shade the trousers in any way.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Conservatory reorganizing

The layout of the conservatory used to be like it was on the picture above. That picture was taken after the fall clean. It was an ok layout and we had had that for quite some time. But it made the conservatory seem really long and narrow and when I tried to get something from the back or take something there it seemed like I had more obstacles on my way than I would have liked to have. Also I wanted to have more room in front of the sliding glass doors so I would have more space for my tomatoes this year. So I did a bit of a switcheroo in the conservatory. 

I changed the angle of the shelf and moved the wooden sofa to the back wall. I think already that change made the conservatory seem bigger and wider. While I was moving stuff I cleaned everything. I took all the cardening tools from the wooden sofa where they are held and cleaned the inside of the sofa. I wiped all the shelves and the stuff on the shelf. I also vacuumed the floor. 

I also flipped the chest table around to give more space in front of the glass doors. I will go wash the carpets later, so I haven't put them back yet. I like that there is now big open space in the front and a bit shady space in the back where to lay and read books. It might not seem so from the pictures but it's now lot more easy to access the shelf. Before I had to cram myself behind the chairs and the wooden sofa, but now there is a bigger pathway to the shelf. And now I can also place the boxes and things on the sofa for a short while since it's right there. Previously I had to turn around to work between the sofa and the shelf. So far I'm really happy about this new layout.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

New socks again

While on the plane to Amsterdam and back I knitted wool sock for the kid. She or he will be a fall baby and if the kid is anything like me she or he will have cold feet all the time. But I hope the kid wont have really big calves because the leg part is not very stretchy because of the colour knit. The pattern for the leg was inspired by these socks by Piipadoo.

By the way if there is one thing I like about Finnish language it is that we do not have separate word for he/she. We just have one word "hän" for both sexes. Really annoying to write anything in English if you don't know or don't want to specify if someone is a man or a woman.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Spring jacket!

You know what?? The spring jacket I started on February is done! And spring is not even gone just yet, I mean there might still be bit colder mornings when I could actually use the jacket. On the afternoons it has been really warm and I have not really needed any jacket. But HEY, I finished it!

When I started the whole project I was even then quite skeptical if I would ever finish it, so finishing it (only) in three months is quite an accomplishment for me. I also want to mention that Alana's Anti-procrastination Project inspired me to move on with the jacket. But based on the experience from the jacket I know that I will not start anything as demanding anytime soon. I consider myself fairly good in sewing but these type of projects require meticulous work and the result must look good and I just don't have the patience when it comes to sewing.

Anyway it's done! And why did I start this project on the first place? Well because of obvious, I did not have any jacket for spring. I had the trench coat, but it is too cold for early spring and my light winter coat is too warm. I had been thinking of getting a bit warmer coat for spring but then I saw this post by Muita Ihania, I wanted to make one just like it.

The pattern is from Ottobre magazine issue 5/2012. I got to say that I didn't quite understand the instructions for the pattern and made a few mistakes because of it. I'm not saying the instructions were bad, I'm just not used to reading those. And I know I took a few short cuts while making the jacket. Also I had bought the fabric from a thrift store more than five years ago and because of that I did not have any chance of having excess material. In the end I had to combine couple of pieces from the fabric to get all the parts I needed for the pattern. So it was a bit tricky.

Even with all the problems my new spring jacket ended up really nice, especially I love the lining and the zipper, those are so energetic.

And since the main fabric was bought from a thrift store or op-shopped as they say in down under/kiwi language I'm linking this to Op-Shop Show-Off.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Organizing sewing patterns

I got a bunch of sewing patterns from my grandmother. Most of the patterns and magazines are from the 80's and 90's when she used to sew a lot of clothes for me and my sister. I think she would still enjoy sewing but her eye sight is not very good anymore so unfortunately she just cannot do it anymore.

The patterns and magazines were in a paper bag, my grandmother had organized some of the patterns into envelopes but lots of the patterns were just loose and shoved into the bag. So I took everything out of the bag and started sorting the patterns. It wasn't a very easy job, I had trouble reading my grandmother's handwriting and some of the patterns had no indication what it was for. From some patterns I was not able to find all the pieces for the garment. I piled these in a separate pile and when I found another one with no pair I tried to look it from the pile.

There were lots of basic patterns for shirts and trousers for different sizes. Some pattern did not have any size written on them. Because my grandmother had used various types of pattern paper I was sometimes able to match the paper type and that way find the sets. 

I was left over with a small pile of mismatched patterns, those I threw out. I do hope none of the pattern sets I was able to collect are missing any parts. I organized the rest of the patterns into envelopes too and wrote on top of the envelope what it contains. I also draw a quick picture of the contents. Once I had done that I punched holes on the envelopes and put them in a binder.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


I've gone officially baby crafts crazy. I admit. My head is buzzing with ideas of crafts to do for the kid. And the kid we are speaking about is -4 months old. But I cannot stop my brain, it's like it's gone on warp drive.

On the same time I feel very proud of my creativity and especially of the fact that all my craft ideas so far have not required bought material. Most things I have done, like the Socktopus, are made of stuff we already happened to have. This one I made from old T-shirts and socks. Hence the name Socktopus. And the wadding is from an old pillow.

I narrowed the socks a bit with a serger so I could remove the bad looking areas from the heels of the socks. I sewed on one of the head parts the eyes and the mouth. Then I combined the pieces for the Socktopus head. I attached the pre wadded legs to the head and the bottom piece. I turned the right side out and filled it with wadding. 

I LOVE the Socktopus, it's so huggable, soft, cute and so useless. Maybe I'll keep it myself.

ps. Just realized that octo in the word octopus most likely means eight. Which makes me notice that I should have had eight sock legs for the Socktopus instead of six. In Finnish the octopus is freely translated as "ink fish", so I only noticed this while writing the post. But... who cares!

pps. The voting for the most amazing dollhouse project is open till Sunday the 12th of May.

(It is not necessary for you to vote me)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Undersized Urbanite miniature garden

Hihhey! I did finish the miniature Japanise zen garden for the Undersized Urbanite dollhouse contest! I can't believe it, only two days ago I had about nothing done, except that I had spray painted the base. Wohoo!

But... the garden is nothing like I planned. First of all originally it wasn't supposed to be this small. Also when I found the base from the thrift store I did not realize that hardly anything can actually fit on it. I did plan to make a tree using polymer clay and wire, but I never got around to it. For some reason making a tree discouraged me, it felt so complicated and I was afraid it would not work out. Also I have been bit distracted by other crafts. After I had postponed making of the tree for so long that I knew that I could never finish one before the deadline, I desided to keep things simple and actually bought a real live mini tree or plant. 

I made a water tight base from polymer clay which has two sections, one for the tree and one for the gravel or sand. The base is what I'm least happy about, I was aiming to make something that looks like stone, but to me it looks like a pile of blue tack. 

The small lanterns and the rake I got from my ex co-workers who knew about my Teahouse project and bought me a mini zen garden as a present. So in the end I did not have to make much anything, just the base and the pilars for the lanterns. In a way I feel like I did not put enough effort on this whole garden. I could have done so much more, but just didn't. 

So I'm not even sure this was dollhouse project, this could be called more bonsai project because of the live plant. I still do think this garden of mine is pretty cool, but I will let the voters of the Undersized Urbanite dollhouse contest deside if this garden qualifies for the contest. Since the deadline for the contest is today and I have posted now on Sunday I won't post anything tomorrow, on Monday, like I normally do.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Visit to the Netherlands

Greeting from the Netherlands!

Like I mentioned in this post just after New Year my sister moved to the Netherlands for some months. Me and A finally flew to Amsterdam on Saturday and met my sister in Amsterdam on the afternoon. My sister does not live in Amsterdam but was there to visit some other friends of her at the same time.

Amsterdam was jam packed of people because of the Queens day that was on Tuesday the 30th of April. All the tourist shops were full of all things orange. Orange apparently is the colour of the monarchy and everyone was dressed in orange or had some orange accessories.

I had been to Amsterdam once before, but A had never been there and that is why we decided to fly there. I do like Amsterdam a lot. It's a beautiful city, it has really good public transport, it's compact to walk around too and all the canals give it a very nice atmosphere. On Saturday me and A took a one hour canal cruise to get a good image of the city. After the cruise we visited some shops but did not do much shopping. We had a quick dinner with my sister and then went to bar for a while to have some Dutch beer. Me and A left from the bar after the sun had set and went to the red light district. I do think the red light district is a horrible place in principle but it is worthwhile seeing anyway.

On Sunday we just had time to visit the flower market and then rented a car and me, A and my sister headed towards the south of Netherlands where my sister is living. We quickly visited her workplace and the place where she is staying. She only has a room in one apartment, so we did not stay at her place but instead we stayed at her friend's place which happened to be on Belgium side. It was really cool to stay there, she had such a good facilities for us, it was really nice she was able to host us.

On Monday my sister was working and me and A visited two close by cities. After the breakfast in Belgium side we visited Maastricht and had coffee there. Then because we had time we drove to Aachen on German side and had lunch there. So in the end, even thought we were only supposed to go to the Netherlands, we actually visited three different countries. For dinner with my sister we again returned to Belgium.

On Tuesday morning we drove back to Amsterdam and took the flight home to celebrate first of May in Finland. We had a very nice trip with just good amount of things to do. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Beanie and a skimask

First of all 
Happy first of May!
In Finland we will be enjoying the labour day by not going to work and eating donuts and drinking sima.

This is the final post of the baby stuff I've made (so far). I could have posted about these things when I posted about the trousers and jumpsuits, because these things I'm about to show are made from the same material. I'm repeating myself but the fabric I used with these projects was old bit worn out clothes from me and mostly from A.

The baby beanie and the ski mask were the only patterns I took straight from the book Baby cool that I borrowed from the library. On the beanie I first stenciled a text that I liked and then sewed the beanie. The ski mask I made for a bit bigger child, but I'm surprised how big it turned out. It can almost fit me.

Also from the scraps of the same yellow T-shirt as the beanie I made a pair of small mittens. I hope the beanie and the mittens fit on the kid around the same time.

So these are the baby gear I've made so far. I know this will not be the last post about the crafts for the kid, but these are the things that are now finished.

So perhaps next post will be less childish, perhaps...
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