March 28, 2012

Little birdies are watching you

Cute aren't they?

They are also about the only thing I've done this week in the line of sewing. It's been a busy time scrubbing, swiping, polishing, buffing, washing, cleaning... You get the picture.

As a leftover parent I'm using my evenings to get this place into some kind of shape. On weekends the family rolls in again and everything looks within a couple of minutes just like it usually does. And does the family notice the efforts? Yes, you know the answer to that one :-)

I found the pattern for the birds here. They are easy to make; the pattern is called Mister Blue Bird. You only need two 10" x 10" squares of fabric.
Beauty is going to hang them up in her windows in her new appartement. She made a couple of butterflies as well. They are her own design, but I'm sure she would be happy to share it in case anyone is interested.

Well; I did sew the middle line I'd forgotten on the seahorse. Beauty says it looks more like a real seahorse this way, but it makes it somehow thinner. Perhaps I should paint a line on my middle as well:-)

Take care; I'll be back soon again.

March 17, 2012

Black as sin, white as suger and red as...

the blood in my veins are the colours of my new pouch collection. Before we get down to brass tacks I have to warn you this post is a Scandinavian thing. Not only Scandinavian, but also a stroll down memory lane, with a few nuggets of information strewn in just to keep you awake.

That clarified I can start with my tale. But where do I start? Well perhaps the beginning is a good place to start (Mary Poppins?).

As a child I did occasionally (=very seldom) get 20  Finnish marks, old Finnish marks (FIM) for my own disposal. Not a lot of money today, but as it was the only money I ever saw it was a small fortune I had to invest with maximum profit. I used to sprint over to the nearest kiosk and glue my nose to the windows, silently harrowing with all the possible choices. Needless to say; the option to save the money never entered my head…
Should I invest in liquorice, chocolates or perhaps in other sweets?
The agony of this difficult decision almost petrified me. Chewing gum never was a choice. And chocolate was soon dismissed because of the bad balance between period of enjoyment and the costs. Salt liquorice in boxes cost 20 FIM but on the other hand “Nallekarkki” cost 1 FIM a piece. These were bear shaped sweets in different colors (ähnlich wie Gummibärchen, aber viel besser). They don’t make them any longer and I’m still mourning. I could buy 5 of these and some toffees and perhaps a lollypop. Or, or, or...

A third option was to go to a drugstore and buy a bag of liquorice powder for 10 FIM. You could lick your finger and insert it in this brown delicacy and then oh so slowly lick the powder from your finger. Because the bag used to get soggy in the process I even used to chew on the bag to get the last shadow of taste.

Even the decision about the salt liquorice wasn’t an easy one. For the benefit of readers from liquorice developing countries (practically everywhere but Northern Europe and Greenland) a short explanation may be needed; salt liquorice is liquorice made with some Ammonium chloride as ingredient. The more Ammonium Chloride the "saltier" the taste. Because Ammonium Cloride isn't really a healthy thing to eat in high concentrations, the amount is regulated. If I remember right 7% are allowed in Scandinavia and 10% in the Netherlands.

Back to my captivating story.

There were a lot of good options. Which one should I choose? Perhaps a safe one from my top ten list? On the other hand; how would I know what the new ones would taste like if I didn’t try? Of course there was always the danger that they would not surpass my high expectations. Almost impossible desicions for a child, but finally liquorice always won.

Never in life has anything tasted better than these liquorices. It was enjoyment, consolation and utter bliss combined in one.

So what has this to do with sewing? Don't get impatient; I'm slowly approching the subject.

Last time we were in Berlin we went on a quest, like we almost everytime do. You know, big city, lots of interesting things to see; you have to decide what you want to do. You can't see everything. In Cologne we once had an Eau de Cologne day, in Berlin last November a Twilight marathon day with all four films (and yes, Robert Pattinson was in town). This time our theme was liquorice. There are actually three liquorice shops in Berlin and we went to all three and met true childhood friends in all of them. Something like this one.

and this:

and this:

I call them my Fazer collection.
And no, I regret to say I will not share the patterns because I don't want to get into a hassle with Fazer. They are really nice, but I do understand that they would not appreciate my meddling with their copyrights. FYI; Fazer is the producer of a lot of my favorite sweets. It is a wellknown Finnish company. Almost like Nokia, but they make tastier things. The look of the pouches lean heavily on some of their brands.

All three shops were great and had different focal points. The first one (Kado) had a lot of Finnish and German liquorice, but also a very intersting assortment of Romance brands. Romance liquorice is different from the Northern Europe kinds; it is smaller and hard. It is usually used as a breath freshener and not so much as a sweet.

I've only got a rather bad pic from the outside, but the shop is lovely.

The second one, Schwarzes Gold (black gold) had laid the main emphasis on Swedish and Norwegian liquorice. We found some yummy Swedish blue liquorice. I think it had also blueberries as flavor. Next time I will sure get a lot more of this one.

The third shop was mainly into Danish and Dutch liquorice. The owner is a charming young woman and she allowed sampling of almost everything. Paradise on earth!

We bought about 50 different kinds of liquorice in every shop, but they didn't survive long enough to make a picture. You just have to use your imagination here.

And what about chocolate. Yes, I like it, but if I get a craving it is likely to be for liquorice and not for chocolate. But there is always the possiblity of a combination of both. If you ask me; the best liquorice chocolate is made by Fazer. I usully buy some at the airport on the way back to Germany, but it never survives the flight. Oh well, perhaps the Fazer Lontoo rae is even better...

By the way; Fazer isn't paying me anything for this commercial. But should they suddenly feel the urge there is no need to throw money my way; some of the products would be quite appropriate...

March 4, 2012

Another 5 minute project

As I first saw my pictures at Pinterest I was rather appalled. "Oh, no, they are harvesting my babies!" was my first thought. Then I thought about my conviction that you get what you give and it is so true! How many amazing patterns and ideas have I collected myself, sometimes even without a thank you line!
I'm greatful for all the generous people who contribute to the greater good with their time and gifts. My own contribution seems so small in comparison.

That said I want to show you a small fabric gift pouch. It is easy to make and doesn't take much time. Well, perhaps a bit more than 5 minutes, but something along these lines.

Cute isn't it? I made three, just because they were so cute. I haven't the slightest idea what to use them for. The pouches are small and the hole in the middle doesn't close well because of the fabric bulk. I'll probably end up giving them away. You find the pattern here: Fabric Gift Pouch

I did also make a seahorse pillow. It takes a couple of hours to make, so its a bit more complicated than the fabric gift pouch, but it's fun to make. I just saw that I shoud have made a vertical seam in the middle as well, but somehow missed it. Next time I'll make one out of velvet.

The pillow is rather big, over 2 feet, but you cannot really use it as a pillow. Here is the pattern: seahorse pillow

I do hope mastutake will write the instructions for the other two pillows as well.

And the winners are...

First of all I want to thank you for your responses. They really mean a lot to me. I do know I have a lot of readers, thank you for your interest, but I like communicating most of all. I love comments!

I'm going to try the advice I got from Oops-Lah about FlyLady. It looks sensible and is built opon the idea of slowly changing your habits and doing some milde uncluttering (15 min.) every day. I can do that...
As it is I'm looking out of my windows and hoping that spring isn't coming too soon, because I don't want to cope with my neglected garden as well. Suppose I'll just have to build in another 15 minutes every day to do my uncluttering (weeding).

Now to the winners. I wrote a list with numbers who wanted what and threw a dice.
The dice has spoken:

No. 1 The Tilda book: Tööt
No. 2 and 4, pillow case and table topper: Gill
No. 3 bag: Linda
No. 5 quilt: Klarafina

Congrats to the winners and I hope you will enjoy the patterns. Don't forget to send me your addresses! Linda; I still got yours, so your parcel will be sent your way tomorrow.

This has been a lot of fun. To those of you who didn't get lucky; I'll have the next give away in about a month to celebrate my first year as blogger. It will be bigger, so stay tuned in.