Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Recipe organizer

A couple of months ago I've made this recipe organizer. Once a week at school the kids come together to cook – the same as I'm volunteering to make my weekly crafting workshop, the same two other moms make a cooking workshop. And my little girl and some other little friends of hers attend this class. The result are tasty treats she brings home friday afternoon, but also LOTS of recipe pages we've accumulated over last months.

This organizer wasn't for my girl though – there's a boy in a cooking class and his mom's making it happen and puts lot of love and time, and work into it, so my guess was that they may be in the same situation – LOTS of recipe pages, beautifully prepared and hand colored by kids during pauses inbetween cooking steps. That's how I came up with the idea of organizer.

I've taken a simple cheap organizer from a discounter, a handful of paper napkins with „boyish“ motifs (I simply chosen something that wouldn't be flowers, or any pink and pastel hues in my soon- to-be-huge collections of finnish paper napkins). I had here Marimekko (fish motif), Finlayson (bears and fruit trees), and some other less fancy home decoration brands on hand. 

After it was almost finished I realized I needed separator sheets to break down the mass of transparent page protectors I've put into the organizer, but also to easily find recipes in categories: main meal – meat and fish, side dishes, desserts, and miscellaneous. I've cut the blanc paper to have side flaps on the right side to write/stamp the tags: viande, poisson, legumes, etc. (in french). The napkins I've used for the organizer itself were great here, because I could underline the content with fish, bear, fruit pictures, and some bubble foil print in olive green imitating green peas (vegetables).

Colors are not usual, very much not usual. So I've made a digital collage and a tablette sketch first to see which other colors would work well. I think it's a pretty helpful step and though it's for me like a step-aside, which I'm not always willing to make, and maybe I'm not going to make it each time, it's not that bad. At least for working on projects with some „out-of-my-comfort-zone“ elements involved. They seem less intimidating with this visualisation.

Now we need one more for my little girl. A more "girlish" one. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

WELCOME BABY greeting card

And here's the card I've been talking about - a quick side project. It's actually getting usual here that almost each time there's a handmade gift, there's also a handmade card. First, that's one more reason for another simple handicraft project, and second - leftovers. Cards are just very good at recycling all the tiny scraps you won't probably sew or use anymore.

And because it's time to get back to normal blogging life, or at least start to make efforts to get more discipline, here're also a short overview of what you need for that kind of project.

Recently I've bought a roll of wood imitating adhesive film - to make over a doll's house I've bought for my little girl last year, which had good bones but the previous little owners of the house made sure walls and floor were properly covered with layers of feltpen in craziest colors. Nothing against splashes of colors, but floors in alternating pink, emeraud green, dirty orange, dark violet just to name a few all together in each and every room of the house - no, that's not beautiful, believe me. I tried to cover it with this wood imitating adhesive film, which I got cheap from a discounter. At least for floors. It worked.

Back here anyway - I had leftovers of this film. This card had to accompany "house" pillows, house are wooden here in Finland, and so wooden (imitating) this card went.

Acrylic paint worked well on this film, and then it got a bit wonky in the layout.

Here's another point of making a card by the way. Have you tried to find some fun card to welcome a new born? I mean, at least you buy everything together in one well curated shop, where the nursery items match stuffed toys AND cards, and they are NOT having bunnies, or prams, or storks, or blue/pink paper mini-onesies on them... And it's like you have a special present, so you want a special card, right? I must be trully obsessed with all things "special", perfectly matching /or mis-matching, but in a perfect way as well. That's who I am!

In a perfect world I'd be for one sunny day somewhere like in Berlin, and would go shopping in Prenzlauerberg and just be marvelling over all the cute handmade/letterprinted/smart/original cards.. And later I'd sit in a cafe outside, browsing through lifestyle and design magazines, people watching, scribbling in a notebook, and sipping my latte and starring at all the unnecessary but-oh-so-beautiful little treasures I'd have.

As long as that's nothing but imagination, I'll craft my cards myself. Why not? Try out, that's quick, and easy, and rewarding. That's addicting, you've been warned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"HOUSE"-pillows, a stuffed lion toy and other randomness

Last couple of months were full of weird projects, that's why I've been a bit more silent as usual, like: do I want to blog about them or do they stand out too far for what I used to share here? Am I going to confuse the readers or can they handle this?

These were the questions I've tried to answer and failed. They led me all inevitably to the question like what is this blog for me? Normally it's sort of a diary for most bloggers, so that means I should possibly just talk - about whatever happens in my life and whatever comes along, personally and/or creatively. I'm not that huge at talking about personal stuff, neither on the blog, nor in my normal life. Maybe one day I can. Maybe not. I'm fine for now with the sentence like "I make stuff". And I don't necessarily speak, nor would I possibly take my time to speak. It seems somehow pathetic to me to speak about myself or what I'm doing. Speaking is like pretending I have some valuable information/knowledge to share. Mostly I do not have. Even less while talking what my life is about. Sounds controversial for a blogger, right?

Here's one point: back in my twenties, somewhere at the beginning, I did have that urge to speak, and spoke a lot. Not only in twenties, but also at the very beginning af this blog - about parenting, creativity, resolutions, etc. And then it's gone. Talking on those topics bums me out because I feel like I'm taking myself too important and I don't like it. Blogging for me is a special form of speaking, actually made up of writing, which means like "advanced", thoughtful speaking, and teaching, and showing, and actually is pretty unintrusive - you can stick to it or leave it somewhere in the middle of the post without being rude to me.

Back to the what's the point of blogging? Surely not a diary. Too inconsistent and random. Is it a creative diary? Sometimes, or many times, and yes, more often than not, I feel like in a perfect world I'd like this blog to be more of a portfolio. But for some weird reasons it's a slippery slope and here I am, spending weeks working on something that is not fitting in. And you get no updates for months. Because I hesitate. I apologise sincerely, I do.

So please, met another one of those "outcasts" - I think I should give it a try and just talk about random creative stuff happening right now.

I had a custom order for a baby boy's nursery - blues (unusual greyish blues and ultramarine blues), light blues, and fabric with tribal pattern. I committed to make "house" pillow cases. They were easy, and simple. And a bit too "rectangular" for my style, so I ended up adding some curves by sewing a stuffed toy -  a lion. This one came spontaneously, and I like how it rounds up the serie. Now all I have to do is a matching greeting card.

The pillows have inlets  -  "house" shaped -  which will be stuffed with polyester filling and put inside the "house" pillow cases. I haven't filled them because I'll be mailing them and they need to be flat. I'm not showing you how they look like filled because filling causes distortion and that's pretty unpleasant, bulky and curvy in picture. Not in real life where they are all cuddly and bold and make a very nice statement.

Monday, March 16, 2015

About hobbies and flashbacks

Here's something I've been wanting to try out since like ever - a paper collage. A very simple one, with lots of different papers, in layers, bold and colorful.

I'm a hoarder, of MANY things - mostly paper scraps, cards, fabrics vintage and not-so-vingtage, books, coloured glass vases, old toys, candle holders, anything of paper, fabric, wood, brass. My second lets call it serious hobby was scrapbooking, a hoarder hobby par excellence, isn't it? It started fast and furious, and lasted maybe about eight months or so. That were very happy months, full of walking through papetries, day dreaming, night scrapbooking. I couldn't afford buying many fancy supplies and tons of papers, but I ended up with pretty darn amount of scrapbooking papers, most of them lost, outsourced or donated, because I made lots of wrong choices while working my way through all the options, styles, techniques in the scrapbooking world. (Side note: the first hobby has been and still is, though "on ice", drawing. But that's more artistic than handicraft, so lets not mention it for now.) The third hobby came after I had a child - sewing, enriched through painting-&-sewing, sewing in mixed technique. The fourth one - the actual one - is woodworking. Oh, there was teddy-bear-making somewhere inbetween. And lacemaking. And knitting (as far as for another side note).

But I still get excited each time I see interesting and eye-catching scrapbook works, but that doesn't happen often. Which doesn't mean I'm tempted to get back into that scrapbooking rabbit hole.

Over years I changed. I use much less patterned scrapbooking papers. Stamps - no. Embellishments - no. Fancy stickers - no. Lace ribbons, buttons, or other volume paraphernalia - no. I kept only punches and basic alphabet stamps. And ink pads. I appreciate working with papers, simple papers, that can be found everywhere, in grocery stores, on flea markets. There are for instance paper tissue packs, which are a but fussier to work with, but are great for layering technique. And much cheaper. Yes, I'm working in layers, which I keep pretty simple - paint layers. spray paint layers through old crocheted napkins, silk paper in ribbons, paper tissue, old book or old agenda pages, and some cuts made by hand with scissors. Which I make from gift wrap paper rolls I get for not much money either.

All in all pretty simple tricks, and pretty well known, if you dare, or just at some point can't help but step aside from the classical scrapbooking mainstream.

It might seem it takes more time making such a page. That's not, after you've tried it several times and know which colors you like and how they work together.

Yes, I've been thinking to get back to more "paperwork", not scrapbooking. And right now, where I'm often sawing, sanding, routing, drilling into timber, it sometimes feels good to simply grab some papers and glue, and paint, and just make something "simple", "not-that-loud" and "light". If you work almost everyday with wood as I've recently been doing, you'll know what I mean. There's something meditative, calming and soothing about working with paper.

So why have I been talking about scrapbooking? Simply to tell now that I'm happy that I've gone the way and did a lot of mediocre pages to learn, to learn to accept not to love them and continue the research, and that I took my time to found out my way. Now it takes me very little time to get started and finish a project. And not get creatively "lost". And be happy with it. As this one.

This is custom made, I've put it onto plywood and that's a part of upcoming project I've been working on in last two weeks. Yes, woodworking, but also teddy bears. Stay tuned!