The First of Advent

Don’t you think it’s absolutely amazing that the first Sunday of Advent was on the 1st December this year? Or is it just me who is an absolute fan of these kind of coincidences?

Also a coincidence, or just good timing from my part, that I was done with my next portion of handmade Christmas-decorations by yesterday:

Star Frames

These lovely crochet stars are the idea of Sandra from Little Golden Nook, which is a beautiful blog. I saw the stars on Pinterest, and followed Sandra’s lovely tutorial to make them. I picked a bag of curtain rings, some yarn of my choice, and some Christmas postcards, and the 10 starts were done surprisingly fast.

let's make frames

 

I really enjoyed making them. Here they are, bathing in sunshine πŸ™‚

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Also, as you can all imagine, we have been very busy with advent preparations all weekend. Actually I have been planning it for quite a long, because the advent calender is something very important in our family. And getting 2 times 24 small, cheap, yet exciting and funny gifts for small kids is a challenge in itself… And then wrapping all of them… Even when I only had to wrap advent gifts for Cherry, I decided that the maximum amount of children in our household is going to be 2. Because there is noone on earth who can handle packing 72 (or more!) tiny little gifts every year, or is there? πŸ™‚

For advent calender we decided to go with the tradition of my husband’s childhood. Every year his parents hung the gifts on a piece of string somewhere in the house, but without numbers on, and he and his sister got to choose one present every morning. And they loved it. So that’s how we do it too. No numbers, but random picking every morning. It has been two mornings so far, and my kids are in absolute trance πŸ˜€

Our Advent Calender

Sorry for the poor picture quality, I made the photo late in the evening on Saturday, when I was done with hanging the packages, and obviously there was no natural light at my disposal in our living room πŸ™‚

We also got out our Christams boxes, placed a few elfes, Santas, candles here and there in the house, and made an advent wreath – well, it is just 4 candles in a box with some dried fruits and branches from our garden really, but it is nice.

nisse collage

 

So, we are ready for the Holiday Season. Is it too much to ask for a little bit of snow as well? πŸ™‚

The season to be… crafty?

I would like to share some family joy with you all: On the 16th of November my beautiful sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy πŸ™‚ We obviously all got very happy and excited, and book the ferry tickets for the next Saturday to visit them. The plan was to pick up my mother-in-law on the way there, and spend the day in Copenhagen.

Then, of course, Cherry got the flu 😦 First of all my heart was breaking for her, because I don’t remember her being so sick ever in her little life. My heart was breaking, because it also meant, that there is going to be no baby-visiting for Cherry, and no baby-visiting for her Mum either (that would be me). And I don’t know which one of us was more disappointed about that, the almost 5 years old, who was sooo looking forward to see her new little cousin, or me, who knows that every baby born to family members or friends might be the last chance for me to hold a newborn again in my arms (as we are NOT having more πŸ™‚ ).

Anyway, my husband packed up Paddington last Saturday, picked up his Mum and they sailed over to Sjælland for the visit, while Cherry and I stayed at home.

At this point Cherry was feeling well enough to be bored out of her mind, locked up in the house, but still too sick and contagious to go among other people, so we had to find some activities we can do inside. And then it occured to me: But it is almost advent! So we were going to make some advent/Christmas decorations, hurray πŸ™‚

One thing you have to know about Cherry, that she is obsessed with pearls. She has tons of beads and pearls that she prepares lovely necklaces of, many a day, then she picks her little scissors, cuts the wires, recycles the beads, and starts it all over again πŸ™‚ She also has a huge box of Hama Beads, and sometimes she spends hours sitting on her little chairs, making lovely shapes and figures out of the Hama Beads, then brings them over to me, so I can iron them. So making decorations of Hama Beads was an obvious choice for us πŸ™‚ Cherry made some circles, hearts and other full shapes, and I tried to create some snowflakes.

Hama Snowflakes

 

At the end we hung them up on some branches, collected from the garden, together with some old Christmas cards we had. I am also thinking about making some more, and including them in the postcards we are going to send out this year, as they are so tiny and light.

Hamas and Cards

Later, while she was resting on the sofa, watching some cartoons, I cuddled up next her warm, little body, and crocheted some cute little starts of different sizes. I found this lovely tutorial (on Pinterest, where else) :).

Crochet Starts

Twinkle-twinkle πŸ™‚

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The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow

During this Fall I have been trying to give a new look to our sofa. Poor little thing, serving a family of four with two dirty little children and a not any less dirty dog, this sofa could tell you horror stories of poured cereal, apple juice, sharpie marks, melted candy, chocolate biscuits, mud, wild wet dog running in from the rain, and whatsoever. It has a central part in our everyday life, and therefore it gets used and shabby. However, we are not going to replace it with a new one, not just yet.

Instead, we made a cover for it, that can easily be washed, many times a week if needed, and the sofa itself goes under heavy cleaning once in a while. So with the new cover the sofa got a new life, and a new, funky colour (ok, probably not so, funky, but a bit more fresh at least). And it needed new cushions too. (Yes, the old cushions were all chewed up by our dog when she was a puppy, and for a while I decided to go cushion-free for safety reasons, but it is a different story.)

Besides sewing cushion covers of my favourite fabrics, I decided to make two round cushions with crocheted covers. I did some research for patterns, and for the core I went with the lovely sunflower pattern I found as the center of a granny square pattern, you can read the tutorial here. After that I carried on crocheting granny style. As I didn’t find a pattern I could directly interpret to my pillows, I went the good old trials-and-failures path, but finally I found the right way, and ended up with the perfect pattern. As I said, I made to pillow-covers, the first took me literally 3 weeks, because of all the trying and failing, pulling downs and starting overs. Once I was done with that, and had my little pattern in writting, I completed the second cover in less than 2 days πŸ™‚

I took the completed mandalas, sewed them together with some fabric of my choice, and stuffed the pillows inside them. Aren’t they lovely? πŸ™‚

The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow

I know you are interested in the pattern, so I am going to share it with you. But first things first, I would like to introduce you to my lovely photoassistant of the day πŸ™‚

My Little Photoassistant

Now the pattern: This pattern is going to fit a round pillow of 40 cms in diameter. I used a size 6 (or 4.25 mm) crochet hook, and used up all the sweet little acryl yarns I had in stash already. These are all kind of thin yarns, so I used them doubled up. I also went with as many colours as possible per cushion, but of course the colour choices are completely up to you πŸ™‚ I am using US crochet terms in my description.

The Sunflower Granny Circle Pillow:

  • Start with a magic loop
  • Rnd 1: Chain 1, 7 scs in the ring. (You will get 8 scs this way) Slip stitch into the first chain stitch.
  • Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in the same st, 2 dcs in each st all around. You will get 16 dcs in total. Sl st in third chain of the beginning.
  • Rnd 3: Ch 1, sc in the same st, 2 scs in each st all around. You will get 32 scs. Sl st into first chain. – Now the core of your sunflower is made.

Rnd 1-3: The Core

  • Rnd 4: Ch 2, dc3tog, ch 4, * dc4tog, ch4* , repeat * * 6 more times. You will end up with 8 petals. Sl st in top of chain. – Now your sunflower is done.

Rnd 4: The Sunflower

  • Rnd 5: Ch 1 and 5 scs in the first 4chain-space. 6 scs in each 4chain-spaces around. You will get 48 scs in total. Sl st into first chain.
  • Rnd 6: Ch 4, * skip st, sc in next st, ch 3*, repeat * * all around. You will get 24 chains of 3 chain spaces. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 7: Ch 1 plus 2sc sin the first 3chain-space. 3scs in each 3chain-space around. You will get 72 scs. Sl st into beginning of round. – Now the lacey part is done.

Rnd 5-7: The Lace

  • Rnd 8: Let’s start the grannies!Β Ch 3 into the first space in between two scs of the previous row, 1 dc into the same space. *Skip 2 spaces, 2 dcs in the next space*. Repeat * * all around. Sl st into beginning. Here in this row you will have to cheat a little bit, because at the end you will only have to skip 1 space to reach the beginning.

Rnd 8-9: Granny Starts

  • Rnd 9-10: 1 sl st to next st, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.

Rnd 10-11

  • Rnd 11-13:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 3dcs in the same space, 4dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 14-15:Β Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 4dcs in the same space, 5dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 16:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 5dcs in the same space, 6dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 17:Β Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3 dcs into spaces between every 3rd dcs of the previous row, all around. This way you can form cute little hearts πŸ™‚ Sl st into beginning.

Rnd 12-17: Hearts are formed

  • Rnd 18:Β 1 sl st to next st, then sl into space. Ch 3, 2dcs in the same space, 3dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 19:Β 1 sl st to next stitches, then sl into space. Ch 3, 3dcs in the same space, 4dcs into next space, all around. Sl st into beginning.
  • Rnd 20: Ch 2 into dc of previous row. ‘ hdc in every dcs, all around. Sl st into beginning. You are doneΒ with your mandala:)
  • Fasten off and weave in any loose ends.

The Mandala

Now you can pick some fabric for the back-side, or make another mandala for that purpose and join them together for your pillow cover πŸ™‚

Girls day out at Ikea

Cherry woke up with a little fever today. No kindergarden for her. But she felt quite ok, so I decided to take her to Ikea. The main reason for the trip was to buy some new lamps for the guest room, but of course one cannot just go and buy one thing at Ikea, I am sure you all understand this πŸ™‚ My husband doesn’t πŸ™‚

Cherry and I ended up buying some new plants for the house as well. You have to know something about me: I kill plants… not intentionally, but I do kill them all eventually… It was very hard to accept that no matter how hard I try, how often I water or don’t water them, put them on direct light, semi-light, darkness, one by one they fade away 😦 Finally I had to realise, real plants in pots are not for me. So the plants we bought today are all artificial. Fake. Plastic. But actually very good quality, and you can hardly see they are not real.

plants in row

Cherry also picked some plastic flowers of different colours that we put in a vase and then in her room. She is very happy about them πŸ™‚

roses

We also bought some cookie cutters, cute animal figures, and tried them right away when we came home. I made some linzer dough, and Cherry helped me cutting the cookies. We got lots of squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes, snails, and also some cars, trains, planes, ships and what not. While we were working hard, Cherry ran upstairs a few times, went into her room, and smelled her fake flowers πŸ™‚ We also had a nice conversation like this: “Sweetie, don’t eat the raw dough, you’re gonna get sick!” – “But I am already sick!” You cannot beat children logic πŸ™‚

When the cookies were done, they got some chocolate icing, and decoration.

cookies

I’ve Got Paint And I’m Not Afraid To Use It!

Suddenly it is such a beautiful spring weather here, sunshine, flowers, kids playing in the garden without their hats on, windows left open, clothes hung out to dry…

Suddenly I feel the inspiration and the need to create… to do something around the house, to clean up very nice, to dress up the rooms… It has been a long winter, and I have realised, that my craftiness was limited to sewing warm clothes and crocheting heavy blankets during these months. Now it is time to return to home decorating.

I have a lot of thing up my sleeves these days, but today I managed to take some time to spraypaint and paint a few things that have been waiting for a redo since last summer… shame on me πŸ™‚

First of all I took some of the mason jars I am using to keep different things in them around the house.

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Then I took the cute little shelf I found last August in a local charity shop and bought it literally for a few pennies. Poor thing was a little dusty, shabby and miscoloured. All it needed was some dusting, cleaning, sandpapering, a few layers of painting and some love πŸ™‚

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So I took my tools, and went into war.

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I gave the jars a few layer of spraypaint and they got a lovely metallic silver colour. They look very cool on my kitchen counter, holding some pencils and straws.

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Or in my office, trying to organise my crochet hook among others…

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And here is a reborn shelf, in the colour of turquoise, enjoying a sunbath, drying.

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It is going to bring a nice pop of colour to my office, which is due to a major redo very soon!

 

Cherry’s Rainbow Retro Circle Blanket

Ta-daaam! It is done πŸ™‚

the blankie

Isn’t it wonderful? It took longer time for me to join the squares than expected, and there is one very simple reason for it: My book arrived by post last week. And even tough I promised myself that I won’t open it until I’m done with the blanket, because I knew I am not going to able to put it down again once I start it, I couldn’t help it, and gave it a sneek peek… I basically closed the book again 800 pages later… damn, I am weak πŸ™‚ Or is it just an excellent book? πŸ™‚ Anyway, it is a shame you cannot read while you are crocheting, so my finishing of the blanket slowed down a bit.

book

 

But now I am finished with the book, and finished with the blanket πŸ™‚

rolled up

Cherry was very happy to see that her blanket was finally done, she has been waiting for it so patiently. Also, I say it was a very good timing, because the blanket was done yesterday, the very same day when the first dots of the chicken pox appeared on Cherry’s little body… A little bit of consolation for her missing out the mascarade in the kindergarden today…

rocking chair

I showed off the blankie to my Mum via Skype, and she said it is beautiful, and she ordered a throw for their double bed right away πŸ™‚ Well, first I would like to make a similar blanket for Paddington’s room, but after that I’m gonna start my parents’. I think it’s gonna be a nice Christmas present πŸ˜€

close up

New Year, New Plans, and the secret of the Origami Cranes

Life is back to normal. We returned to Denmark, holidays are over, kids are in care again, husband left to Copenhagen for 3 days, snow is falling.

I realised that I haven’t even said hello to 2013 in a proper way, so here it is: Well, hello 2013! I have a lot of plans for this year. I don’t call them resolutions, because they don’t really call for any radical changes to my current lifestyle, but plans, because they need to be done.

First of all, I would like to apply for Danish citizenship, and I plan to get it as well πŸ™‚ That means an exam, how exciting!

Second of all, This year, and hopefully soon, I will open my own Etsy shop! Yay, hope you guys are excited about it too πŸ™‚

There are some DIY projects I would like to accomplish this year, like finishing Cherry’s retro circle blanket (almost done, by the way!), and make another blanket for Paddington, plus a huge, XXL size crocheted blanket for our big bed too. Lot of crocheting for this year πŸ™‚

Furthermore, I am certain that I am going to keep up a (relatively) healthy lifestyle, with good food, a lot of motion, gonna keep a better order at home, and train the dog, you know, the usual stuff πŸ™‚

 

Now, I also realised that I haven’t posted anything creative lately, well it is not easy while being on a visit and limited computer time, so to fill this gap, I am going to share with you the secret of the origami cranes,Β whetherΒ you’re interested or not πŸ™‚

 

the origami crane

 

  • Start with a square sheet of paper

 

steps 1 and 2

 

  • Step 1: Fold it diagonally with the blank side out, bring a corner to its opposite corner. Open up. Repeat it in the other direction. Open up again. Turn it.
  • Step 2: Fold your paper in half, this time the coloured side out, open up and repeat to the other direction. Open up. Now you have a sheet of paper with 4 folding lines in it.

step 3

 

  • Step 3: Using the creases you made, pick up the sheet by holding it by its middle, and bring the two and two of its corners to meet each other. Flatten in out.

step 4 and 5

 

  • Step 4: With the open side pointing downwards, take one of the side corners, and fold the upper triangular flap into the center and unfold. Now do the same to the other side.
  • Step 5: Turn it around, and repeat Step 4 to this side too.

step 6 and 7

 

  • Step 6: Now take the uppermost corner, and fold down a little triangle to one side to create a crease, unfold it, turn it around and repeat to the other side as well.
  • Step 7: Unfold the flaps you created in steps 4 and 5. Lift the upper flap and carefully open your model up while pressing the sides inwards at the same time. Flat it out along the creases.

step 8

 

  • Step 8: Turn it around and repeat step 7 to the other side.

step 9 and 10

  • Step 9: Fold top flats into the center, both left and right side.
  • Step 10: Turn it around and repeat step 9.

step 11 and 12

 

  • Step 11: Take of leg of the model, open its upper flap up, then reverse fold the leg upwards.Β 
  • Step 12: Repeat step 11 to the other leg.

step 13 and 14

 

  • Step 13: Take the wings, and fold them downwards, making a crease.
  • Step 14: It is time to decide, which “leg” is going to be the crane’s head, and which one is going to be its tail. Hold the top of the head, and invert fold a part of it downwards. Now gently pull the crane sidewards by holding its wings, to flatten its back a little bit. And ta-daaam, we’re done πŸ™‚