Autumn leaves

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We made some nice fall decoration. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the process, so I’ll try to explain in words:

First we selected nice leaves from the nearby forest and pressed them (that takes a few days!). Then we places a pressed leave under a sheet of colored paper (in Germany it is called “Tonpapier”, I think it is equivalent to construction paper of thin cardboard) and painted lightly(!) over the paper above the leaves with wax crayons –  suitable are wax crayon-blocks (we use the wax blocks from Stockmar). When painting over the leave underneath the paper the color of the crayon will highlight the coutures of the leave. When the leave is nicely outlined, it can be easily cut out. We attached to a string to hang the leaves into the window.

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The leaves are nicely moving when there is a draft in the room (e.g. because of an open window or door).

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This is my contribution to creadienstag.

The post Autumn Leaves first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Halloween Pumpkins

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This are our Halloween Pumpkins this year! Once before Halloween we get a carload full of various pumpkins – they are sold everywhere right now. Mostly they are piled high on some field next to the road and you just put the money into an honest-box. So we went, picked our pumpkins, payed and carried them home (they are heavy!). A few years ago we started to try out different carving techniques. Using a set of carving knives one can actually achieve nice effect by just carving off the skin at some places and cutting through at others. Here is one example where I tried to carve some night scene:

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The post Halloween Pumpkins first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Tea shelf

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We needed an additional shelf in the kitchen to store tea and cereals for easy access. The best husband decided to build it himself since the available space was too small to fit a shelf from the shelf, so to speak.

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Why painting the shelf in white or a single color? Why not turning this into a colorful family effort?

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Well, that is what we ended up with: a colorful tea-shelf with a drogon…

2015.02.08.Winter.033s… flowers…

2015.02.08.Winter.035s… butterfly, snail and elephant ….

2015.02.08.Winter.036s… bird…

2015.02.08.Winter.029s… and a sleeping bear.

This is a contribution to Creadienstag.

This post first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Mouse

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I made a felt mouse. Inspired by the amazing felt animals at KleineViehcher and encouraged by the felting my son does at school, I tried my hands at a ball of wool and a felting needle. Out came this little fellow.

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The most difficult part was the tail. It is still a bit heavy for the little mouse. I guess mousy needs some friends and I more chances to practice.

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I will send this mousy now to say ‘Hi!’ at Creadienstag.

This post first appeared at tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Home-made-clay pottery

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I received the most lovely birthday gift! My two older boys (the best husband and our older son) made absolutely wonderful pottery from home-made clay. And because I was so touched and amazed and surprised that one can actually do something like that, I asked the craftsmen exactly how they made it.

We live in an area where the soil is very rich of clay. When we go to the forest, there are small creeks that run through a bed of what looks like almost pure clay. So, my boys set out to collect exactly this type of soil. At home they dissolved it in water to be able to separate the clay from all the other components like sand and twigs and stones etc. They let the sand set and drained the clay solution several times. Now it was time to get rid of the excess water, which turned out to be not so easy. The first obvious  step was to run the solution through a filter made from fabrics. Then they used diapers (!) to get rid of the remaining excess water. I don’t need to tell you what I thought when I happened to find some of the mud filled diapers hiding in my son’s bedroom….. Apparently one of the most important steps is the kneading of the now somewhat dried clay to achieve a  smooth and homogeneous constancy. Otherwise the clay will teer or break very easily.

And thats what they made out of it! They dried the pottery on low temperature in the oven until they where thoroughly dry and then painted the pieces. Lovely, isn’t it?

This is my contrition to Creadienstag.

Christmas tree decoration

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I needed very quickly a small last minute Christmas gift for my son’s educator. I wanted it to be somewhat personalized so I decided to make a small pendant for the Christmas tree to add to a small gift we bought at the Christmas market. A quick Internet search led me to this nice little birdie. Using some scrap fabrics I made a simplified form of this bird, closed it and stuffed it with wool. I enjoyed sewing it and if I have time (haha!) I will sew a couple more to give as a personal note to dear family members and friends.

It has been very quiet on this blog lately. Having a school kid and work to do and some serious sleep deprivation left me with almost no time and energy to do anything extra. My to-do list of crafting, sewing and mending is growing faster that I can pick up a needle. And if I do manage to finish something and even manage to write something about it then I still need to take somewhat acceptable photos, which is in this dark and gray weather almost impossible.

There has been a nice discussion of some German sewing blogs about (im-)perfect blogging and the the somewhat implied do-it-all-yourself perfect Christmas preparation (for example here and here and here). I admit that I also would love to present on my blog the most beautiful photos and most inspirational text, and I would really like my home to be clean and orderly and prettily decorated.  But I simply can’t. The day has only so many hours and “pretty” just doesn’t make it very often to the top of my priority list. And I agree – being imperfect is human, and that is what I am.

Happy 4th Advent!

Turnbeutel

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I just don’t know any proper translation of the German word Turnbeutel. Does “gymnastic bag” capture it? Or “sports bag”? Anyway, our older son started school this month and needed a bag for his gymnastic shoes, labeled with name and proper to hang.

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So I got this nice fabric at the local fabric store, cut out a piece big enough to hold the shoes, labeled it with a piece of my printing experiments, and closed it with French seams. What I couldn’t figure out is how to do the top seam such that I can pull though a cord, with those French seams in place. So I decided to add an extra stripe of fabric to the top of the bag. For this I cut out two pieces, each 10 cm wide and the length equal to the width of the bag + seam allowance. I joined the two pieces at the narrow ends, but only about 2.5 cm at the edges such that there is an opening in the middle. I then fixed the seam allowance to either side on the seam and opening, folded the stripe (now a loop) in half along the  length and attached it to the top of the bag. I then pulled two cords though the openings on both sides. The cord I made from leftover yarn from my socks.

Pattern: Self-drafted.

Fabric: “Zoo” from Westfalenstoffe, bought at a local fabric store.

This is my contrition to Creadienstag.

Apron and name tags

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The summer is over and we are adjusting back to normality. My older son turned six last week and will start preschool tomorrow. I am still worried whether I made the right decision to put him into preschool instead of first grade, but I guess only time will tell If it was right or wrong.

For preschool my son needed an apron, because they will paint and bake and cook a lot there. So I bought some water repellent cotton (the fabric is usually meant to be used as table cloths) and lots of bias binding. I decided to bind the apron in the neck because I feel that the loop around the neck is always too long,  but it still needs to go over the head easily.

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Also, because everything for preschool needs to be labeled, I carved a name stamp from an eraser and used textile paint to print some name tags on some scrap pieces of cotton fabric. The inspiration for carving stamps I got from Geninne’s wonderful Art Blog, and the idea to stamp name tags for school items I was inspired by Masha-macht-mit.

Pattern: I took the pattern from a child’s apron we have at home.  I just extended the top and bottom a bit to make it longer.

Fabric: Water repellent fabric from a local fabric store and bias binding.

Stamp carving: I used an eraser from Staedtler, a kitchen knife and fabric paint.

This is my contribution to Creadienstag and Made4BOYS!

Amish Puzzle Ball

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When I saw this ball on aenni’s wonderful blog recently, I immediately new I had to try to make one. Especially since I am a mathematically trained person with a love for all things geometrical I had to have one of those little geometrical wonders in my own hands. And so I decided to make one for my cousin’s new baby girl using a soft cotton from my stash. I followed aenie’s link to a very good video tutorial of this crochet pattern by Dedri Uys (oh, and you should see Dedri’s amanis!). Originally, this ball is made by the Amish using scraps of fabric. But I really like the crochet version because it is so nice to grab – perfect for little hands. I did not use different colors for the different parts as suggested by the pattern, partly because my stash is very limited on soft cotton yarn (and I wanted to start immediately!), and mainly because I really like the combination of purple and orange shades of this ball of cotton I had. I think the changing colors of the yarn did produce some soft defining lines after all and I really like how it all came together in the end.

I sent the ball to my cousin wrapped into packaging paper which I found in my mom’s basement and which we decorated using our favorite printing technique. This made it a hand-made, stash-busting, up-cycled gift from heart.

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Pattern: Amish puzzle ball, following this video tutorial.

Yarn: 100% cotton from my stash, bought a few years ago at a nice yarn store in Montclaire, NJ.

Needles: crochet hook 3.5 mm

Filling: 100% wool (healing wool)

Would I do it again? Oh yes! The only downside of the pattern is that one has to constantly attentively count…  Next time I will not turn the little hats inside out.

This is my contribution to Creadienstag!

This blog-post first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Potato stamps

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Oh, this is so much fun! My boy wanted to do some printing and tried to make a stamp from wood and foam, but it didn’t really work out. Then I remembered the potato stamps from my childhood and we carved a few potatoes. Even Papa joined in and we happily stamped away with our potatoes and watercolors…. The stamped paper we used as gift wrapping paper.

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The advantage of using potatoes is that the material is relatively cheap and we can just compost the not so nice ones. However, the disadvantage of potato stamps is that we have to toss all your stamps at the end of the day, also the ones we would like to keep. So, I guess, next time we will try to make real stamps!

This is my contribution to Creadienstag!