Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New homepage WERKLERAY

Hello there !

After a year of publishing peeks into creative projects and randomness from our life on Instagram I've finally took a leap and put a homepage together. The past year from August 2015 until now was filled to the brim with new projects, like really brand new stuff (again, it's all up on Instagram). It involved illustration commisions, creating indie magazines, laying them out, illustrating and publishing, diving deeper into the print world and getting to work a bit more as illustrator and graphic designer.

Yes, I've been crafting too, and woodworking, and continuing to have my woodworking class at a local school with younger pupils.

Late summer I got to participate in trade fairs coming up this autumn. And that's been a trigger to finally pull to put it all nicely in line. We created a label: WERKLERAY. A label offering special items in small editions. Using hand printing techniques. Sewing a lot of linen, making use of recycled fabric too. Creating stationery to print locally in Finland on eco-friendly paper.

Here's the new homepage.
The whole range of our products is available here in shop !

I thank all the readers who came here to take a look, get inspired and share. Our adventure takes its next step, on the bespoken homepage, and of course the DIY part is coming with us to live happy ever after there too. I have a new category "DIY tutorials" which is getting filled with step-by-steps, printables, tipps and tricks and such. Another category on the homepage is entitled BLOG: same old, same old, but different angle: more illustration, more curated layout, and the overall look is just new and fresh. We grew out of the blogspot and move into a bigger house ! There's lot of "renovation" to be done, or should I better say "creation", because we're making it almost from scratch (thanks to wordpress templates for "almost").

I have been sharing way too many different projects here which all evolved.  This morning I browsed through it clicking back in time and could hardly believe all that's been done, thought of, shared and revisited on the blogspot. Time to close this virtual book, to say thanks and be grateful for what I learned along the way, not to forget it and sometimes come back and flip through it because it all contributed to what we are now: we are WERKLERAY now, and very happy to be, and eager to get the best out of it. Please come with us ! Time to start a new book.

Thank you all and cheers to the blogspot and WERKLERAY!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

NEW - I'm on INSTAGRAM now

Yes, it's finally happening, please excuse my late night post with no pictures. I'm not every so often here on the blog last couple of months, that's just a matter of time, and I'm working on getting more regular on schedule.

As long as I'm not, here's the way to fill the gap - go check my brand new INSTAGRAM feed.

See in the right side bar the "I'm instagramming now" with the new button VIEW ON INSTAGRAM below the aforementioned title? That's it!

I'm since about a week into it, and seriously in love, AND seemingly addicted. It's been quite awhile since I've been thinking about it, as of an outlet about documenting the daily life. The time is right to start, since my ramblings are numerous, and they do not quite fit into what this blog is about.

You'll see there's lot of stuff happening around while I'm not blogging - my INSTAGRAM feed is going to be about gardening, woodworking for other purposes than blog, sewing, knitting, randomness, peaks into creative processes and such. I'll be happy if you come over, comment and follow it, I keep it up to date daily.

See you on the INSTAGRAM!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nursery gift - elephant stuffed toy

Hei there! Here's another occasion of making a welcome-baby gift for a friend.

We just got back home this week, after A MONTH being on what is normally called holidays. And that was fun-n-tough - like seeing all the family here and there, and endless talking and cooking together, and finding new inspirations, but also driving-flying-taking multiple trains-combos across half Europe with two small kids every ten days. Dealing with them being over-excited, over-tired, rude, screaming, not sleeping, eating candies, - like that's not your kids anymore. You certainly know what I mean - big, long family vacations, because a month like this is LONG. Happy time, exhausting time. Period. Now let's move on and get back to normal life.

So what is going on here? Remember, I told once, after I've made this elephant, that it was fun and I was thinking about making more of them?

That's it - a bit bigger, slightly different shape which is still simple but more adjusted. Stuffing a toy makes significant distortions of the flat shape, and this time I've tried to account for that. Still not quite perfect, on my opinion, so this elephant got some extra adjustment hand made seams here and there and a bit of photoshopping too, but less than the first one, so we're making progress here, hurray!

This time there's less patchworking, but more different fabric qualities, and some vintage finds as well - like this crocheted piece of a napkin. I have a small collection of them, which I have been hoarded since awhile. I'm glad they finally come in handy. There are embroided hot pink cotton, and fine alpaca wool, and fabrics from Liberty, Petit Pan, Marimekko, some corduroy, and fluffy organic cotton for ears, and linen, of course.

Stay tuned for other elephants, I hope this one is not going to be the last one.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Noah's Ark baby blanket - a patchwork quilt with monoprint

Let's move on with babyshower gift making – part #2.

Yesterday I was talking about making gifts for a babyshower to the theme Noah's Ark. Here's the second gift. First I had the wooden Ark, but it didn't get filled, though I spent some thought on it. Here's the point - filling the Ark with animals didn't feel right. But we had to have animals to correlate with the theme. And so they come. On a blankie.

This project involved some collaboration with kids. We made monoprints. I simply suggested they should make a drawing of an animal they like and want to draw, but then repeat it, because Noah's Ark had them paired. And that's what I got: a pair of fish, birds, sheep, giraffes, toucans, and unicorns. I had six kids working on this project, aged five to eight, and we got twelve drawings.

I could have found eight participants, to make sixteen prints and perfectly fill the surface of sixteen squares. Some Photoshop rendering prior to getting started with kids to better visualise and find the right colors to mix proved quickly that sixteen prints would make our blankie look busy and too patchwork-y. A bit boring too. I introduced first simple squares of solid cottons, matching the colours of monoprints, and after some fine tuning and playing around how to complete the monoprints better I've come up with those waves and playing elements on cords.

That sea element, referring to a story of Noah, the greyish blue wave repeating at four squares holds the whole piece pretty well together, and bundles it. And this element induced the idea of making pockets. Playing pockets.

I filled two of them – I had a leftover monoprint of a fish, so I made a soft a bit stuffed mini toy (some padding added inbetween two layers of fabric – between linen backside and printed surface). I had to sew an Ark, to thematically tie the blankie to the wooden Ark. And it's attached to a cord, and can be played with as well.

Yes, there was also some research on Noah's Ark quilts, mostly on Pinterest, though less gainful than for the wooden Ark. I've seen one, that had colored squares and white animals in appliqué technique, cut of white plain fabric, and hand applied onto the quilt. Pretty subdued in colors, with only different animals and I quess it wasn't even brandmarked as a Noah's Ark quilt, it was a simple animal themed quilt. But I loved the idea of colored squares and white objects.

A couple of words on colours: we don't know whether the baby is going to be a boy or a girl, because the future mom-to-be doesn't want to know. They love blue, different types of cold blue, and emeraud green, and they have a bit of red and this soft pink around the house. That's where the color scheme came from. Not a typical one for me, but as I said after playing around in Photoshop, I've found the satisfying combination, both with „their“ colors and the way I loved it personally to engage and produce it. I must say, I love this piece very much, and I hope it will bring joy and happiness to the mom-to-be and her future baby. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wooden Noah's Ark - night stand lamp - a NURSERY gift

Recently I had a babyshower in my place for three of our friends-soon-to-be-moms. We made ONE common celebration for three of them on one day, because they are going to have their babies in summer, and many of us are making holidays sooner or later, not all at the same time, so finding three different dates for moms, and friends, AND making three planning lines AND crafting would otherwise be tricky, if not impossible.

Yes, we had different themes but they worked well with each other. As to me I was in charge of crafting a part of gifts and particularly to ONE theme – Noah's Ark.

I've seen one interesting wooden Ark on Pinterest, a simplistic one, stained and with blueish patina, on wheels. That gave a kick of inspiration like yes, I could give it a try.

Truth to be told, the more I thought the more I realised, just copying woud be boring, but that Pinterest Ark had a nice feel, that means we needed something same, same but different. 

Re-create the feeling, but with another object, a new one - that's where the most sleepless hours have gone. Some other Pinterest models had an opening to maybe put a bunch of animals. That was a stumbling point for me and a lot of time was spent figuring out how to make the body of the Ark, so that it looked like a boat, like a real boat, all rounded, but massive and bulky in a good way. Because Noah's Ark had to be bulky.

What I came up with finally was making a sturdy boat body, not a hollow one. I put four pieces of wood, glued together, got one piece 14 x 14 cm square, and sawn the edges off so that a boat shape came out. A nice edgy rounded shape.

The upper part was inspired by another Noah's Ark, an old german shelf in a shape of Ark, looking like an old farmstead. Yes, I did some research on Arks, I didn't expect it'd fall into my lap, and most helpful results were the old documents, found on Pinterest, like illuminated manuscript pages, old models with particular, as I said, feeling around them, old illustrations. They all had something special, like details, harmony between elements and the main shape, it's difficult to describe, I repeat, it's a feeling.

Last but not least – at some point, almost finishing the cuts I was thinking how to fill it or not (Playmobil, Lego Duplo animals), because the simple shape of those ones would suit the Ark the best. And that's how this Ark got a light garland. And turned into a night stand lamp.

It's possibly a bit too bright for a baby night stand, looking more like a boat on fire than a soft night light. And actually my friend-soon-to-be-mom needs to find another safer solution, because this garland is getting warm, and that's not great. Lets say, this garland was merely for gift presentation and to give some thought/visual stimulation how to use this Ark on purpose, or leave it as nursery deco. As to me, I would maybe try to find the weakest lighting garland and leave one or two bulbs on it, so that it gives only some hint of light, creating a cosy and softened light.

Mosaic magnets - DIY with kids

This sunday was Mother's Day in France. We're not in France, and my kids are small to recall of the fact (6 and 2 y.o) AND my husband deployed (not in France, because otherwise he'd take note. As long as he's absent I'm not watching television, and stay much less online, otherwise I would take note). Long story short - we all happily forgot it. Until yesterday a friend of mine asked me. Her daughter came for a sleep over at our place, and this project fall quickly in place - the little girl and my little girl made both those mosaic hearts as fridge magnets. I am only sharing it almost as the Mother's Day has gone over - sadly. But you can make those magnets without any special Mother's Day notion, right? Let's move!

I've spent half an hour drawing, drilling and sanding. And we spent all together half an hour choosing mosaics and putting them together - fun part. Mosaics was very free style, because it was late evening and last thing I wanted was to art direct anything. I was simply happy sitting nearby and listening to their thoughts on subject: like, "Look, I'd like to make eyes here, and a nose". "On a heart?" "Well, yes, see, it's coming out nicely, isn't it?".

Next morning I've put plaster and varnish - another quick-n-easy step, better without kids, because you have to be quick, precise, and careful. Please meet the happy magnets with candy colors!

And happy Mother's Day for those celebrating it to french calendar!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A wooden elephant stand for a card

Let's get back to making more detailed DIY posts, right? Though my internet connection is still poor, and there's no amelioration in sight (yes, believe me, though I can hardly believe myself as I'm writing those lines), and the DIY's are longer, picture heavy, and hence demand more upload time, let's take a risk!

That elephant from the previous post - he needed a card, and he got one. Here's the break down.

That's not an ordinary card, all together that's looking more like nursery deco. It's a wooden elephant, made of three parts - equal in outline, and one of three (the middle one) is cut so that there's a slot when I assembled them. In this slot we put a card.

Actually why not make a simple double folded one, with an elephant on a cover and call it a day? Too simple, right? Yep - actually this card had to give place to eight or ten inscriptions, and in a double folded one that would look messy, and nobody would probably bother writing more. Keep reading - that's fun, and great, when people take time and write more - jokes, thoughts, comments, tipps, own souvenirs, anything that's longer than two lines. Hence this card would (and I'd outline and insist while giving it for inscriptions) to take time and write. Something special. Everybody can write something special if he/she takes time, I believe.

I wanted to make a folded card - sort of dividing it all in pages, yet being all on a one piece of paper. There're fabric inlets to divide, create some visual interest, and match the stuffed toy I've made previously.

Well, back to the elephant - it's a sturdy one, my plywood was 9 mm thick, threefold it brings to 2,7 cm, slightly over 1", so it stands pretty well. This elephant wasn't initially planned. It came as an answer to the question - how to make a folded card look nicely and not fall apart without any ribbons of other closing/holding together fussiness. The elephant was the answer, made as a stand, to slip the card into and hold it perfectly.

That's all, try it out, it doesn't take long if you have some basic sawing experience, pay attention to exactly where you cut, and have some patience for sanding. Mines weren't exactly perfectly equal, so yes, I've spent one evening watching a movie and sanding - but that doesn't sound that bad, right?