Thursday, December 24, 2009

This year I got a late start on Christmas crafting. So the grand total of decorations produced to this day is - two. One tiny wreath ornament. And some spray painted pine cones.
Thankfully, I don't work in Santa's workshop, otherwise I'd be in trouble.

This pipe cleaner ornament is made from, that's right, pipe cleaners twisted around a cardboard circle. The idea came from Martha Stewart. The candy canes are just beads on wire twisted to the candy cane shape, the stars are also plastic beads, and the ribbon on top is ... the ribbon on top. It's maybe 8 cm in diameter.

This one was super easy - I had some pine cones saved from this fall and I just spray painted them with acrylic spray paint. The end. The candle and the ho-ho sled are store-bought.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stash update

So I passed my exam. And I rewarded myself with yarn. Lots of yarn. What a great positive reinforcement for studying!

First we have Wonderwool, a yarn by Schoeller+Stahl. It looks terrible once you wash it, but it's super soft and warm. So it will be turned into something that rarely gets washed and is supposed to keep you warm. I'm thinking a colorful garter stripe scarf. And maybe a hat. Me being me, I'll probably only wash it once every two years. Good for the look of the yarn, not so sure about the message it sends about my personal hygiene. How often do you wash your hats and scarves?

Next Merino Mix, also Schoeller+Stahl. Also very soft. This will probably be a sweater of some sorts. I wash those regularly, in case you were wondering ;)

This stash update pretty much used up all the space I have for storing yarn. That means it's time to start knitting! For the sole purpose of freeing up storage space, of course!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back by popular demand ;)

I haven't posted anything in the past month, because I literally had nothing to blog about. My craftiness has reached a stop.
It had to be sacrificed while I study for ... no idea what it's called - the exam you have to take after having worked in your field for a year. State exam? Expert exam? The exam that is sucking the life out of me and taking away precious time I could be spending crafting? Yeah, that one.

Anyway, no craftiness from me, at least nothing until Christmas.

But here are some random stuff I did ages ago, and never posted.

A crochet rectangle... thing. Just another reminder that I need to move past the damn single crochet, and learn how to work in the round, so that the stuff I crochet aren't flat rectangles, but cute toys. But at least I found a use for this thing. It goes really well with my couch.
See how amazingly useful a crochet rectangle can be? ;)

Next up - a wall decal I did to add some decoration to the wall above the couch. I cut it out of some self-adhesive wallpaper, just started cutting, with no plan whatsoever. Now that I look at it, it might need something else. But I have no idea what. A flower somewhere? More leaves? Random swirls? Or should I just leave it like it is?

The wall next to that one is still bare, I plan to add some framed art to it. When I find something I'd like to put there, that is.

And we're back to geometrical shapes. A potholder. Love the mushroom fabric. Of course, I managed to spill cocoa on it, the very first time I put it to use. Now it's a stained potholder. But you can admire it here in its fresh-off-the-sewing-machine stage.

OK, that's it from me for November. I'm going back to studying. Or banging my head against the table frustrated over the fact that nothing I read sinks in.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stopping the cold

These past few days the temperature dropped almost 15 degrees Celsius.I literally went from wearing short sleeves one day, to pulling out my winter coat the next.
The heating in my apartment goes trough the heating plant, and they have this rule that they don't turn the heating on until the temperature is lower than 12 C in the evening for at least three days in a row

hose were some pretty cold days in my little studio apartment. I could feel the cold breeze coming from outside trough my door and window. So I decided to make a draft stopper, to keep the cold outside.
Basically, I sewed a long tube, filled it with poly-fill (from an old pillow) and stitched it shut.

Of course, literally two hours after I did that, the heating got turned on. Not to mention that today is the most beautiful sunny fall day, it's almost hot in the sun.
But winter is
coming, and I need to make at least two more of these, one for the window, the other for the front door. I'll probably try different filling for them - rice seems to be the popular choice.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Wow! I reached a milestone in my blogging career. 100 posts! I feel like I should bake a cake with the number 100 in chocolate frosting. How about a little retrospective on my crafting instead?

It all started some six years ago, when I stumbled onto Craftster. Amazed with all the projects that other people posted, I decided to try some of them out for myself. The very first thing I tried was sewing - there was a great tutorial for a Jordy Bag. I sewed mine by hand. From an old t-shirt and corduroy pants. It didn't look like much, but I was proud of the fact that I basically made something from otherwise useless stuff. That's a great feeling - the one you get when you finish a project. Practically the next day I went and bought a sewing machine.

The sewing bug had me for a while, but then I sort of abandoned the hobby when a new and shinier one presented itself.

So over the last 6 years, I've dabbled in
almost every crafty activity there is. Here's a list, if you're interested : stenciling, bag sewing, jewelly making, Polymer clay, knitting, bookmaking and paper crafts, crochet (tried and failed miserably), embroidery, cross stitch. Lately everyday life kept me too busy to craft, but I feel the bug again. After all, I need to have something to blog about in the next 100 posts.

Thank you for reading! ;-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My summer turns to fall sweater

Sometimes I like to knit, just for the sake of knitting. Just to do something with my hands, a simple motion, nothing too frustrating, no fancy pattern, just plain old stockinette. That is how this sweater came to be. I've had this cotton mix in my stash for at least year, don't even remember what I bought it for. Now it's this light, simple sweater. Perfect for the end of summer.

I used bigger needles than the yarn calls for, CO some random number of stitches for a wide neckline and knit in the round in stockinette. Increased for the sleeves with yarn overs and after a couple of weeks I had a simple, over-sized sweater that makes me feel like one of those 80's knitting magazine models.

Except, I can't really pose like those women. They have skills that I lack :) Sorry about the weird poses.

The yarn is Toptex Edita Glamour, which calls for 3-4 mm needles. I used 6 mm round needles and DPN's for the sleeves. I did one round of single crochet on the sleeves and the bottom to stop the rolling that stockinette loves to do.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fabric CD Box

Ages ago I bought Amy Butler's In Stitches from Amazon. This CD Box is my first project from that book.

I would like to tell you it was a complete success, and it was going rather well, but then the crappy sewing on the top edge happened. I could blame my Toyota sewing machine, but let's face it, it's probably me.

I did do a very fine job on the bottom. Look at that crisp edge. Too bad you can't see the bottom when the box is doing what it's supposed to. Namely holding CDs.

This project calls for Timtex, a fancy schmancy interfacing that is not sold here. I used a cereal box instead to give it some shape. I also omitted the handles for the box, because I didn't want to cover the pretty red flowers.

The fabric is from Etsy. I only bought a half a meter. Should have gotten more when I had the chance. I could have made two boxes. I would have even been extra careful with the topstitching on the second one.

Friday, August 14, 2009


When I was a kid, "The Smurfs" were my favorite cartoon. I've recently stumbled on a episode on youtube (here in Croatia, the show was dubbed in our language) and it brought back fond childhood memories.
I actually still use some of the quotes from that cartoon, like the unforgettable "Ima li još puno, Papa Štrumf?" ( How much further, Papa Smurf - from the Astrosmurf episode).

But my favorite character was Grouchy - Mrgud in Croatian. His random exclamations of hate cracked me up. I find his wisdom to applicable on so many things in everyday life, one of them bei
ng housework. Especially dishes. Washing dishes. Drying dishes. Dishes.

So, with Mrgud in mind, I sewed a dishtowel out of aida cloth and stitched my most honest opinion of dishes.

Imagine Grouchy saying in his grouchy voice: I hate dishes!

That's what I do everytime I look at this. It makes me chuckle a little. And then my face gets the same expression as Grouchys when I realize it's time to do the dishes.

Mrgud/Grouchy was done on 22-count aida cloth, with only one strand of floss. It took me about a week to finish.

The back is a mess and that's the reason it's not pictured. I'll probably sew a patch or something on the back, before I use the towel for drying dishes. Or maybe I should forget about function, trim the cloth, frame the cross stitch and display it in my tiny kitchen as the universal truth?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pintuck T-shirt

After more than a month of working on this, I finished my Pintuck T-shirt.
The pattern was great, easy to read and to follow. A lot of short rows, and while I generally dislike those (I end up having holes all over the place) it resulted in some nice shaping, especially on the sleeves.

I used different yarn than the pattern calls for (as always) and fumbled a bit with the size - I think I started with XS and ending up doing half of the shirt in S. I should have written it down I guess.

Due to my marvelous XS/S sizing changes, the bib is a bit too high. Actually, way to high. Also, the shirt is a little tight in the armpits. Someday I will knit a short sleeved shirt that doesn't cut off circulation in my arms. Someday.

A real knitter here would have admitted defeat, would have frogged the pits and the bib and re-knit the whole thing. Not me though. I am far to lazy to do that. It's taken me too long to even get to the bib, no way am I going back now that I've washed the damn thing and sewed the buttons on.

Besides, it's only tight if I move my arms around too much. It'll be okay for those two times I'll actually wear it.
It's shameful, but I hardly ever wear the stuff I knit. Want to know why? Because I don't dare tossing them in the washing machine and hand washing is such a pain in the ass. We've already established that I'm lazy.:-)

Pattern: Pintuck T-shirt
Yarn: Lana Grossa Elastico, 3 skeins
Needles: 3,5 mm
Time it took: 48 days

Thursday, July 9, 2009

In which I discover Mani di fata

Finally, I have my computer back. This past month has been one malfunction after another. Starting with the pipes leaking in my apartment (they had to be completely replaced) and ending with my computer dying on me.

So the past two weeks have been mostly about cleaning up after the workers, vacuuming the endless amounts of dust that seem to got everywhere and waiting for the computer repair guy to do his thing.
Now the water smells and tastes funny and the computer makes a funny noise when you turn it on, but I'm so past caring about that. I have returned to my crafts, and I'm on vacation. So what if it rains every single day? I have my needles ;)

I have recently discovered that the newsstands here carry Mani di fata, an Italian stitching magazine. Although most of the patterns are a little too classic for my taste, it does have some cute stuff. Like the cake and cupcake you see below.

These were both done on 11 count aida cloth (at least I think it's 11, I counted the little squares and got 11 per inch) with three strands of floss. Mostly Ljubica by Unitas.
I should have used 4 strands to get better coverage, I'll have to remember that for next time.
Someday, they will become potholders. Or something else that has some kind of use in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, I busy myself with knitting. I'm working on the Pintuck T-shirt and progress is slow. I just hope I'll finish it before the summer's over.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What to do with mini cross stitch

Make a small fragile keychain you'll probably never use?

Oh well, I did it anyway. It only took me about five minutes too, so yay for instant crafty gratification.

And here's the construction, dead simple. I used a small plastic ring, that probably had some use in plumbing, a little felt, glue and my second cross stitched thing ever.

Basically you just glue your image down on a felt rectangle. Fold some felt over the center of the ring, glue that too, then cut a window in your remaining rectangle and do some more gluing down.

Mine turned out flimsy because I used thin felt. I probably should have added some cardboard between the cross stitch and the back, for sturdiness.

But like I sad, I'll probably never use it. I keep my keys on a little converse shoe I got from a street vendor. It red, just like my real chucks. I call that matching accessories ;)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mix, pour, wait, then paint

The title pretty much describes what I did with plaster.

I got it ages ago, the kind you pour, along with exactly two molds - one is flowers and fruit themed, the other is Christmas ( a bunch of snowmen, Santas and bears with presents).
Let me tell you, those molds are expensive. And not really worth it, unless you want to make the same motives over and over again. Which I just might have to, because I still have a lot of plaster left.

Anyway, here are my forms, all dried and waiting to be painted. Ideally, I would sand the edges a bit, but I was out of sandpaper.

Painted and waiting for me to glue some magnets on the back. I only had three, so the other ones will have to sit and wait for me to go on a craft supplies shopping spree.

I used Decorlack by Marabu to paint them, which I wouldn't really recommend for plaster. I think it's better to use something that the plaster will aborb, like regular acrylics, tempera or even watercolor. They will blend better, and make your fruit look more real.

And an obligatory action shot. This kind of looks like a commercial for Candy fridges, but believe me, it's not. This fridges makes such bizzare and loud noises that I kind of hate it. But hey, at least it's a good surface for my magnets.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little gardener

Lately I've been too busy to craft, but here's a project I finshed a while ago.
This little guy was stitched from a DMC pattern booklet. The title is Fairy Tales, I got it as a part of a DMC kit. Since the stores here don't carry DMC, I used Madeira thread and of course, good ole Croatian Ljubica.

I actually like working with Ljubica better, it's easier to separate the threads and it doesn't tangle as much as Madeira. The jeans, the watering can and the paler green are all Ljubica.
Too bad the color palette of Ljubica thread is limited, to put it politely.

I only stitched half of the scene from the pattern, because I just don't have enough patience to do the whole thing.

I might get another plant and put this guy in a frame next to it. Maybe then the plant would survive my care.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Here we go : the DROPS cardigan I started in February is finally completely finished. I used up almost nine skeins of Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 (in a color called lavender). Originally I started out with 7. So much for my magnificent calculation skills.

The cardigan was done last week. From February to May, that is the longest I've ever worked on a knitting project. Hell, on any project. The cardigan is knit form the bottom up, sleeves are done separately and then added to the same needle as the body. This part was a bit touch and go, as it was a total pain to knit the round sleeve part back and forth on one long cable needle. But it turned out well in the end, I think.

The lowest lace border has a ton of mistakes in it, I ripped and reknit that part three times before I gave up and left it as it was. It's hard to notice, anyway. At least that's what I tell myself.

It was a wee bit short before blocking, so I tried to stretch it out a bit. Turns out I stretched too much.
Now it's about 3 cm longer than I'd like it too be. But I think I can live with that.
The buttonholes should have been closer together - when I button it up, there's some gaping, and not a nice closed buttonband.

(click to see biggers pics, sorry about the glare, it was sunny)

I guess I'll just have to wear it unbuttoned. It's going to the closet now. Because I finished this 100% wool cardigan just in time for 30 degrees Celsius weather. Go me!

Pattern: DROPS 88-17
Yarn: Lana Grossa Cool Wool 2000 (lavender), 8 and a half skeins

Needles: 3 and 3.5 mm

Time it took: 73 days (OK, 59 if you count in the days I waited for the extra yarn to arrive)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hello Kitty!

Finally back at my computer. I've been on vacation, took a little trip to Zagreb, bought a ton of Madeira embroidery floss there, did some cross stitch, finally finished my 88-17 cardigan and now I'm back home and counting the hours I still have before going to work.

The cardigan is still wet and blocking, but here's a good example of why you shouldn't do cross stitch without writing down the color number of your thread.

Notice something off in Hello Kitty's head? Off white, that's what! I started with some leftover white thread by Madeira, ran out and threw away the little wrapper it came in. When I went to buy some more, they only had that what your see above. Silly me, thinking white is white. Nope. There are shades, apparently.

I still finished it, even if it is with the wrong color. I'm impatient like that, I just wanted it done.
Someday I might unpick it, or start again from the start.
There are a lot of things I'm not happy about - my thread keeps twisting (letting the needle drop and untwist doesn't work) and I keep pulling little thread strands to the front of the work. The back is a mess, in case you were wondering.
Oh well, practice makes perfect, right?

Hello Kitty pattern is from Sanrio DIY Crafts.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Cross stitch is time consuming. Really time consuming. It's a craft for patient people. I'm not sure I'm one of those. It's also a great way to loose your eyesight, especially if you're working on teeny tiny squares. I'm sure this has a name, but I don't know it. Thread count seems to pop up all over the place when you google cross stitch. So, let's call the tiny squares issue the thread count problem.

But despite of all that I have to admit that it's kind of fun when all those little x's begin to take shape of your design.

These were my first attempts. Both designs are from a DMC pattern book, the heart is my very first cross stitch ever.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DMC Light Effects

Look what my dad brought me from his business trip to Italy! It's DMC!

I feel like I'm eight years old again – you know, when your parents go on a trip, and you expect them to bring you something. 17 years ago it was mostly all about toys from Germany and foreign candy you couldn't get here. But this, this is even better than Milka chocolate... OK, I might be getting ahead of myself here. Chocolate is chocolate. But super quality embroidery thread is probably the next best thing. Or the third, after yarn. Damn, now I seem ungrateful ;-)

Anyway, I got three kits of DMC floss, in three different color schemes, each with five different cross stitch patterns and an extra pattern book. The only problem is that I don't do cross stitch. Well, no time like the present to start, right?

I already went and bought a whole meter of the white fabric with little square weave, the name of which I don't know. I think the lady at the store called it Panama?

So, this is how I start a new hobby. My seventh. Or is it eight?

As for the DMC floss, this particular version is called Light Effects. A sparkly metallic thread. I tried it on some embroidery and I regret to inform you that working with it sucks!

It's splits easily, which is great when you need to separate the threads, not so great when the thread gets separated on your embroidery piece. The texture of the thread is rough and coarse, and it's hard to pull trough the fabric. And it puckers. I tend to pull my stitches very tightly, which usually goes fine with normal cotton thread. But not with this one.

I don't know, I'll try again on a sturdier cloth. Or maybe this DMC was just meant for cross stitch?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Etsy fabrics

Online shopping is a wonderful thing. How else would I get my hands on nice German yarn and knitting tools? My latest discovery is a wonderful place called Etsy, where crafters from all over the world sell handmade stuff. And supplies. Emphasis on supplies.

A while ago I bought two fat quarters from a wonderful seller in Taiwan, theheydayshop. It took them 18 days to arrive to Croatia (I know this because I crossed off each day on my calendar) and the wait was worth it. The cutest fabric ever!

I immediately pulled out my sewing machine and started making stuff. Zippered pouches (hey, you haven't seen those on this blog for a while ;-) for my friends from the adorable mushroom printed cotton.

And a bag for me from the tree print on linen.
The orange stuff is also linen, from a local shop in my town. I added interfacing to make it stiffer and it got all wrinkly when I turned the bag. I hate ironing linen, no matter how long or hard I press, the wrinkles stay put. Perhaps I should iron it while it's still completely wet.

I already see myself buying more stuff on etsy. I think I'll go bankrupt with all my crafty purchases. And I'm supposed to be saving my money. There is an economic crisis after all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elephant and crayons

So September has a free pattern of this adorably cute elephant toy. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to embroider it.

Laser print out, couple of thread colors and a few hours later I had this. Sorry about the not so sharp picture, I took it at night, and we've already established that my camera is crap.
It looks cute, right?

Of course,the devil wouldn't let me be, so I RUINED IT with crayons. Just look at the wheels! And the gray color just makes it look dirty. What was I thinking?!

There is a reason they tell you to color your embroidery BEFORE you embroider - my thread on this one is full of crayon gunk. It seems I don't know how to color inside the lines. But it's hard to be precise with crayons.

I think I'll try this one again, without the color. Elegance of blank space and all that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Grandmother's favorite

While I wait for new yarn for my cardigan, I'm killing time with quick projects. Dishcloths are perfect for this - they use little yarn and knit up quickly. Or super quickly in this case. The pattern is Grandmother's Favorite, the yarn is Record 210 by Schoeller+Stahl, very colorful and soft cotton.

I used 4 mm needles and was done in about three hours. Instant gratification, yay!
Of course, now that I made it, that's it. I just sort of stare at the bright colors and don't really think about using it on dishes. It'll get ruined!
Perhaps I should dare and just go for it. When it gets stretched beyond belief, and turns pale and smelly, I'll just knit another one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Got this far...

My fear of running out of yarn has come true. With only about 15 more centimeters to go. I've used up 7 skeins of yarn, which is 1125 meters. What is wrong with me? Just how tight do I knit? Honestly, this sweater is starting to annoy me. I've been at it for a month and a half. And now I have to order more yarn and wait for it to arrive. It'll never be finished.

I also messed up the lace pattern, after ripping it twice. Aaargh! I'm ordering new yarn tomorrow and putting this aside for at least two weeks while it arrives. By the time I finish this cardigan, it will be summer.

Sorry about the lousy picture, it was dark when I took it and flash combined with knitting never looks good.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One lovely blog

I got an award! My very first blog award! Thank you misha!

I'd forward this one to zMaja, bensedin art and drenka, but they've already been tagged ;-)

Again with the zippers

OK, I'm starting to bore even myself with all the zippered pouches. But that's as far as my inspiration goes when it comes to using my embroidery in an actual project. So prepare yourself for a picture loaded post of two versions of the basically same thing - my good friend, the zippered pouch. This little car was my very first embroidery project. I've looked everywhere with some cute fabric to pair it with, but couldn't find anything. Eventually I settled for this striped purple (or is it maroon?). It matches the color of the embroidery perfectly.

I lined it with more stripes, these ones from my father's old shirt. Men's shirts are a great source for stripes and checkered patterns.

This one pictured below is for a friend. I followed the fabulous tutorial by
queenofdiy on Craftster in the making of this. Mine isn't exactly triangular, because I have issues with cutting and sewing straight lines, but I still love the way it turned out. Almost as much as I love this flowery fabric.

The little Kanzashi flower gave me hell. It took me almost two hours for that little bugger and it's still not as perfect as I'd like it to be.

The Kanzashi flower is a pin and can be removed and placed anywhere on the pouch. It actually looks a lot better if it's put a little above the stripe of the flowers fabric, so that the lower half of the stripe is showing. I don't have a picture of that, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
The side view, showing the not so triangular triangle.