Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Pastelly Easter

All set for Easter? The eggorations have been up for a couple of weeks now and I have not really added anything new this year. In fact I re-used stuff again, in a slightly different way. The old frame keeps getting used - it really has been the best decorating device ever.

I had actually planned to take the little strings out of the frame once I took my Valentine-y love heart display out of it. But then I found my paper eggs from three years ago in the box of Easter stuff. Three years ago - my oh my, I had all but forgotten that I had made them, but as it turns out, they were one of the really popular posts here on my blog.  Back then I wrote a whole tutorial about making them. Check it out here - there is also a template you can download. It is very easy and the sort of stuff you can do with your kids. In fact, the initial egg came from my daughter, then 8 years old.

With the eggs all slightly pastelly, I had to forego my usual red deco on the kitchen mantle. Good thing I still had all those white and pink Easter eggs from the Euro shop from last year. They were popped into a vase, and together with a few white bits and pieces, the kitchen this year has a slightly paler theme.

All that remains now is to look forward to my first piece of chocolate in 6 weeks tomorrow. Honestly, I can't wait! 

Happy Easter, all!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Alright, with Patrick's Day out of the way (belatedly happy Paddy's Day, all afiliated Hibernophiles out there!), I can finally get down to the first decorating highlight of the year. Easter is around the corner. And don't I know it - this year's fasting exercise is streeeeetching my patience. No chocolate since mid-February. A self-imposed Facebook ban. No crisps. I am surviving, but I *am* looking forward to a chocolate feast on Easter Sunday. But I digress. It's still about a week too early to bring the Easter eggs out. Mr Craft-Werk objects, as you know. Especially when we are talking silly relics of religious rituals. But where there is a pair of scissors, there is also a will.

I came up with these whimsical little bird houses with chicks peeking out of them after I found a whole stash of those pipe-cleaner chicks in my craft-materials box. "What can I do with them?" I thought to myself. I came up with a little paper birdhouse that is very easy to make - all it needs is some nice cardstock, glue and a pair of scissors.

First of all I made a template from which I could cut a number of those shapes. I drew it up simply by estimating and experimenting. Feel free to use the image to the right: Print it on a piece of card stock to use as your template. (I scanned it at the highest resolution I could - just resize in the size that you need.)

When you look at my template you will hopefully see the lines that I drew on the template. They are the folding lines. Fold up the two main bits - the front of the birdhouse with the hole in it, and the back. before you then fold the sides over so that they form the two sidewalls and the roof, fold the edges in, in order to glue them to the front and back of the house. Ah, you'll work it out as you go along.

For some nice, colourful paper in spring colours I "blasphemed" and ripped photos out of a book on funky wallpapers. (I feel bad about destroying a book - there is something sacrosanct about books, isn't there?) The pipe cleaner chicks were simply popped into the finished birdhouses and secured with a drop of glue.

And that is it - here they are, my colony of chicks, frolicking in- and outside their houses. They blend in pretty well with the first branches of forsythia from my garden. They bring a smile to my face, every time I look at them.

Happy spring time!


Monday, March 4, 2013


Finally, two years in, Sonja jumps on the washi bandwagon. Yeah, it's been a long time coming. I have watched the rise to crafty stardom of the modest Japanese tape. And when I recently was sent a homemade gift as part of a Valentine's challenge that featured lovely washi tape, I knew I had to act if I didn't want to be overtaken by the bandwagon. So a week into my love affair with wishi washi washi tape I finally got the reason and purpose for a washi tape project.

Essentially I had to reward myself for finally, after about three years of living with an extremely heavy, guilty conscience, I did my tax returns. Which in turn left me with a number of documents that needed to be fiiled for possible perusal by the authorities. I had the file - but it just looked shite with its scratched out file label.

Yeah, even the carefully placed vase of flowers cannot disguise the fact that there is ugly in the picture. Apart from the fact that I wanted a fresh start with my paper mess tidy, and that meant labelling things properly.

So I printed a label and out came the washi tape. Just a simple sticking job.

There. That's better, isn't it? I think I can now move on to spring. Yay!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Featured :-)

In lieu of a real post - too busy with work at the mo, so my projects have to wait a little longer - I am just sending a little bit of blog love to Lindsey of Better After. She has just been kind enough to feature my little shelf-re-purpose on her blog. See it here together with a few inspired re-do ideas: A fridge make-over? A bbq re-do? A folding chair re-furbish? And you thought you had seen it all...

If you are heading over to Better After, don't forget to leave a little comment and share back the love ;-)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spring Tide-y

Something terrible had to happen for me to finally get down to the business of tidying up and organising some of the worst hot-spots for my mess. And most fittingly it did so on the second day of spring (in Ireland), on Saturday. I had to tidy up my messy desk, and as I was already at it, I went straight on into my bedroom to finally tackle the mess on my dresser. I had been meaning to do that for a good while, and now I can finally show off my latest re-purpose: a really handy and easy-on-the-eye jewellery organiser:

I love costume jewellery, particularly earrings. Lately I had acquired so many of them that my previous way of holding them was proving ineffecient. I had them hooked over a plastic cup.

Moreover, my dresser in the bedroom was becoming a dumping ground for all sorts of crap. That, in turn, didn't make dusting any easier, and so the dresser and the bits and bobs were finally vanishing under an ever thickening layer of dust... Something needed to be done. And while I was tidying up the study, I realised that my shelf-gone-ribbon organiser had lost its function and would make a much better jewellery display than a ribbon organiser. Here's a little before-and-after of my ribbon shelf (you can read about it here)

I realised the former towel/ribbon holding bar was ideal for hooking earrings over; and the hooks were great for hanging my collection of hardly ever worn necklaces. Plus, the shelf could hold trinkets, rings and bracelets.

I moved the shelf to the bedroom and then arranged all the crown jewels on it. It works absolutely fab - the earrings are in reach and can easily be chosen; the necklaces are behind where I don't need to get at them that often. And rings and bracelets plus stud earrings are on the shelf.

It looks quite well, too, doesn't it? I got all excited about the little thing and took lots of pictures, playing with the dof of it and all...

If you want to recreate that but haven't got a ready-made shelf like this, I am sure it would be easy enough to copy. In fact, I had to put in the little holding rod myself, when I gave the shelf the initial make-over. It is merely a piece of doweling. Just make sure it is not too thick to hook your earrings over.

For posterity, here is a before/after of the whole dresser. Now, that looks better, now, doesn't it?


PS: Linking to Monday Fun Day Link Party @ Creatively Living

Friday, February 1, 2013

Spring Time

Today is the beginning of spring. Sounds mad - but in Ireland it traditionally is the first day of spring on St Brigid's Day - the first of February. High time for me to get rid of my New Year's message that had been gracing the "Frame of Frills" in my kitchen.

I wanted a quick and nice update to my show off area empty frame. That was easily done by actually chucking the previous display into the bin: the letters spelling H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R were all warped and I felt not the slightest pang of regret when I put them in the bin. Instead I put up this:

Just a selection of photos, strung up with tiny little wooden clothes pegs. I went for a bit of a friendly theme with the hearts. No connection with Valentine - but it would probably fit the occasion as well.

This is just one of the easiest deco things you can do. Go through your photoalbums and dig out all the nice memories you want to surround yourself with. Or follow a theme - mine was "hearts" and "red/pink". You can easily create polaroid-y prints by cropping your images into squares and then printing them on paper/card/photo paper. Just cut them in such a way that you leave a wider edge of white at the bottom.  Or, for those who want it even easier, I recommend online photo converters such as polaroin, instantizer or (my personal favourite site) bighugelabs. - After that it is just arranging and hanging.

Kitchen mantle February style. Bring on the winter depression, I am ready...


PS: Linking to Categorically Crafting @ Someday Crafts

, That DIY Party @ DIY-Show-off

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Bloody Valentine

Craftworld is probably going to dismiss me dishonourably for writing this - but I really do NOT care for Valentine's Day at all. The craft-blogging universe is full of hearts this and pink that. A difficult time of year for me. So I would like to point out that the following project is NOT a Valentine's project. But hey - if you want a heart display for your Valentine's decor, then be my guest. It fits the description...


This is something I had been meaning to make for a long time. You see, I tidied up my wardrobe last autumn and threw out lots of wire hangers. Except I held on to them, to make wreaths with them. (I made a nice bauble wreath before Christmas, alas, I was not active on Craft-Werk at the time, so that'll only see the light of blogworld next December...) And then my friend-in-blogdom Jutta of Organized-living-solutions posted this darling little heart wreath of hers a couple of weeks ago. Combined with the recent crocheting craze that I have been going through, I had the perfect project cut out for me.

And this is how made my ruffled heart wreath:

You need a wire hanger and some fabric. I happened to find a looooong off-cut from some silvery curtain material in my stash. I think I cut that off when I covered a lampshade with that, yonks ago... Anyway, you want a two-meter long and about 10 cm wide piece of fabric for this.

Fold in half lengthwise and just sew together, creating a long tube.

Now comes the fun part: Turn the tube inside out.

Next bend your wire hanger into shape. This is best done while the wire has not been untangled at the top. Simply pull down the straight bit in the middle, smooth out the bumps at the side and then push down the hanger top to create the dip of the heart. You might find it easier to do that lying the hanger flat on a table top.

Undo the two wires from each other to open up the heart.

Thread the fabric tube onto the wire.

Presto, here is your undecorated but already ruffly heart-shaped wreath:

I decided to add a bit of colour. My crochet flowers had to be incorporated somewhere. After sewing brooch needles on the back of the flowers, I then simply attached them to the fabric.

Word of advice: the lighter your decor in weight, the easier to arrange on the heart. My crochet flowers kept pointing downwards with the gravity. I eventually fixed that by keeping them in place with some cheap pearl earrings - they actually make the flowers look even better than without them.

The great thing is, the wreath itself is pretty neutral - so I can redecorate this any time of year - with some sparkly stuff for Christmas, some punchy flowers in spring time and some fluttering butterflies in summer. Maybe paper deco works best here as heavy items will drag the ruffle fabric down... the crochet flowers are about as much as it will take.

I am hanging the wreath on the drawing room door - as I haven't got a useable front door, this is the first door in my own living space that my visitors see. I welcome them with an open heart ;-)


PS: Linking to Blog Link Party @ Somewhat Simple Transformation Thursday @ Shabby Creek Cottage

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Knitted Collar/Scarf

Another project from my recent Knitting Renaissance came courtesy of a friend who passed on a knitting kit to me. It came from a great new initiative called Supercraft which aims to get people crafting and creating. Such fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

Yeah, that's me, having a bit of fun while working on that project...
So, Supercraft. What it is, is essentially a craft-kit subscription. You sign up on their website and they send you a fancy box with all ingredients for some crafting every two months. It contains everything that you need for a number of different projects that they describe in their well-produced and easy-to-follow, accompanying booklet. To the right you see the contents of the kit that I worked with (which came courtesy of a non-knitting friend).

The paperbag contained a couple of buttons, some stitching thread, elastic thread and a stitching needle. Everything that was needed to complete the proposed project.

I opted for a collar/scarf which was extremely easy to knit and took one afternoon to make. What usually puts me off knitting is the annoying sewing-together you have to do at the end. Now that all the tools were at hand, I had no excuse to finish the scarf and therefore it got done.

I sewed a one-off, hand-made glass button as a decoration onto the collar, to give it a bit of bling.

And here it is:
Suffering from overexposure again... sorry.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Knitting Hell

Recently I have been doing a lot of traditional hand-crafts. It all started when I decided I needed a crafts project I could take on my summer holiday. Yep, already an age ago, but there you go. Crocheting or knitting, I didn't really care, as long as it kept my fingers busy on the family holiday in Denmark. I set my mother on the case and she got me a lovely project in the local yarn shop.

Even for beginners, the project I settled on was one of the easiest you could start with. I knitted a triangular scarf. The special thing about it was that you had to knit it with needles with different thickness, in order to get a row of really big stitches and an alternating row of tight stitches. As the scarf will be growing in width as you go along, you best knit on a circular knitting needle.

When I bought my wool in the shop, the assistant actually did a great sales speech and sold me a nifty knitting needle where the ends are not fixed permanently but you can exchange them. So I had a thin needle at one end of the circular knitting needle, and a thick one at the other. The sizes used were 2.5 and 9.

And then it is only knit - purl - knit - purl all along.

You start off with three plain stitches on your thin needle. For the second row you also just knit the three stitches. After that, in every row, you add one loop at the beginning and one at the end. That way your scarf becomes a triangular shape.

Once I finished my scarf, I made three tassles from the remaining wool. I pulled the bits of wool through a loop at each of the three points, then threaded a wooden bead from my daughter's jewellery box on to the wool and secured it with a simple knot.

I really love my scarf and have been wearing it quite a bit this winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Ok, I better show you this before January passes and it is definitely too late to have this message anywhere:

It's the old trusty empty frame again... It has been keeping me company in my kitchen for four years now and it has seen many transformations. Essentially it has framed anything from a bunch of milk jugs via wreaths to an assortment of Christmas baubles.

I actually put the thin silver string into the frame for my last Christmas display. It was an idea I had when I came across a pack of 50 mini silver pegs and silver string in the Irish equivalent to the Dollar Store. It was € 1.50 and was actually meant for stringing up Christmas cards. Instead I fixed the string to the frame and then hung all those misc Christmas decorations on there that usually just sit in a corner of the empty Christmas deco boxes. Here's the Christmas frame (sorry, anachronistic, but just for comparison purposes...)

Oh Cod, the photo quality is atrocious. Don't tell anyone I am a photographer. I was being lazy and only snapped pictures with my iPhone. That has got to stop from now on, back to proper photographs.

Anyhow, there you have it - the frame doing its service. I am already thinking up a slightly Valentine-esque display for February. Watch this space!