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IMG_5818I know, I know, Easter is over. But our Easter was just yesterday, and as always I left it to the last minute, but I did dye some eggs! It was so easy but so much fun, and I liked the end result so much that I decided to write about it anyway.

To make these marbled eggs I used:

  • white eggs
  • food coloring
  • plastic bags
  • tongs (optional)

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Lay a boiled white egg on a plastic bag and drop a few drops of food coloring directly onto the egg. I started with 3 or 4 of one color. IMG_5803
  2. Using the plastic bag to hold the egg and contain the food coloring, roll, tap, scrunch, rub or use any other technique that comes to mind to spread the color onto the egg. The plastic bag will create a marbled effect, and each technique gives a different result. Take your time to experiment with each.IMG_5802
  3. Move the egg to a different (clean) part of the bag, or an entirely different bag, and repeat the process to cover the rest of the egg. If you use a different part of the same bag you can take advantage of the blend of the two colors, which will inevitably happen.IMG_5805
  4. Leave the eggs to dry on another plastic bag – this will prevent them from rolling onto each other.
  5. That’s it! Wait till all paint is dry and enjoy!

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I am terrible with going to the post office. There is no good alternative in my area, I always feel they are going to be rude and annoying (which they often are, but not always to be fair), and it usually requires an extra trip just for that. Unlike most people, I don’t begrudge the wait – I have long ago made my peace with waiting in lines and I just take the opportunity to people-watch, day dream, and look around for inspiration. There is always inspiration, if you give yourself time to let it rise in your mind, so waiting in lines is the perfect time pocket for doing just that.

The reason I mention post offices is that I have to go to one, as I have 4 packages with gifts for people that I haven’t mailed to them in weeks (okay, months… *blush*) One of them contains a tag blanket for my lovely niece, who turned 1 in August. She was my original inspiration, as my brother mentioned that she likes to stick the tags from toys in her mouth, and so do my boys. A light went on in my head, and I understood the purpose of tag blankets. I had seen them, and tutorials for how to make them, online, but always thought they ‘d be kind of a boring thing to have around. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I think like a baby. The boys looooove theirs, and enjoyed being the product quality control team for the first one I made (see photo above.) They grab the tags, stick them in their mouths, they play with the applique, and V plays his favorite game, which is to put the blanket on his face for a few seconds and then lift it up – is it a form of κου-κου τζα (peekaboo) or does he get something else out of it? I so wish I knew! Maybe I should try playing the game myself 🙂

There are several tutorials online for how to make them, which were very useful in some respects, but of course I did mine a little differently, to suit my preferred way to work / fabric selection etc. I used solid-color flannel for the soft side, and an equal size cotton fabric (from fat quarters) for the other side, plus a little more for the matching applique. For the tags, I used my stash of ribbon from gift wrapping and ribbon (my mother would be proud of me for holding on to them all these years!) A word of caution: if your gift ribbon is “wired” to help the bows hold their shape, make sure to pull that wire out before attaching to the blanket.

The process itself was very easy and fun:

  • Cut two pieces of fabric at a square of your choice, estimate how many tags you ‘d want for each side, and cut as many in equal sizes. You can embroider, applique, use patchwork pieces or use whatever other embellishments you like for the fabric pieces.
  • Fold tags in half, and pin on the right side of one of the two fabrics, tags’ folded end facing the center of the fabric, and edges sticking out just a little bit from the fabric edge.
  • Lay the other piece of fabric on top (right sides facing each other with tags in between them) and sew all around, leaving an opening for turning inside out.
  • Turn inside out carefully (lots of pins inside!), remove all pins, and top stitch all around to close opening and give a finished look to the blanket.

I washed mine a couple of times before giving it to the boys, to make sure all the colors and other nasty stuff from the tags were washed away.

Enjoy!

One of my favorite holiday traditions at home is setting up the family Christmas tree: my brothers and I bring everything out, move furniture to make room, unpack the ornaments from the old box with “bacon cheese” written on it (oh, how I miss the taste of bacon cheese on white bread!) Christmas music playing, my mother watching from her favorite chair, my father tactically staying out of the way. As an annual ritual worthy of its name, things are repeated, almost verbatim, every year: the good, the fun, and even the bad.

Last year, I felt trully fed up of arguing over the tree base scratching the wooden floor, and thought we could do without this particular detail in the tradition! All our previous rugs are somehow gone, including the first one I remember from my childhood, that my grandfather had crocheted in a mustard and brown yarn (yes, both my grandfather and father had learned how to knit at one point, albeit neither with much success in their final products!) So, my goal for this year was to make a tree skirt to remedy the situation.

Here is how you can make one too.
You will need:

  • Two pieces of fabric, one for the top and one for the backing, cut in a circle that will be right for your tree. They should be large enough for the edges to show, sticking outside the tree branches.
  • Felt sheets in brown and grey/green (for houses), 2-3 shades of green (for trees), white (for snow), pale yellow or off-white (for windows).
  • Fabric glue, scissors or x-acto knife, pen & paper for designing the templates.
  • A kitty, or three (optional).

Cut your two main circles and sew them together, right sides facing, leaving an 8-inch opening. Turn inside-out and top stitch around the entire perimeter, closing the opening and giving your circle a nice thin edge.

(sorry, no photo for this stage!)
Make a template with paper or cardboard for the houses and trees. You can make them all one size, or make 2-3 different sizes. (I made 1 size for the houses, and 2 for the trees).

Draw the outline on the felt sheets, as tight as you can to avoid wasting fabric.

Cut out all shapes, including curly lines for the snow on the roofs and chimneys, and little squares for doors and windows (I used left overs from the houses to make the tree bark, and doors & chimneys for the houses.)
Make as many as you will need to space around the edges without it being too crowded or sparse (eye ball it. Or have a kitty to help.)

Using fabric glue, put together all your trees and houses before attaching them too the fabric, it will make the final step faster and more enjoyable.


Arrange all trees and houses around the edges, and glue. Done!

As part of a project I am doing with some friends for another friend’s baby, I had to come up with the challenging task of making an applique design for a specific building. The hardest part was to simplify the image enough so that it could be conveyed in just a few pieces, but still make it (sort of) recognizable.

So here is what I did:

I found a photo of the building, printed it and then experimented with tracing the most prominent lines into solid shapes.

I enlarged the photo to a size that would be in the right scale for my project, and then traced it again, simplifying the shapes even more.

At this point I also tried to determine what colors to use. Based on the photograph, I chose darker colors for depth.

I cut the paper into the basic shapes, and used them as templates to cut my fabric pieces.

I laid them out on the background fabric, and appliqued each piece, using thread that matched the top fabric.

Done! Not too bad, for a first try!

 

Last Christmas I asked for, and received, a lovely ironing board cover. Unfortunately, it was much smaller than the board I use at home. Fed up with the once-beautiful-now-dingy one I have been using for years, I decided to take action.

Here’s what I did for making my ironing board cover.

Materials:

  • enough cotton fabric (acrylic would burn, not a good idea) to cover the length of the board
  • 3 metres elastic band, about 1 cm. wide (it should be about 2/3 the circumference of your board)
  • 1 safety pin

1. place board on top of fabric and cut around it leaving a generous border to cover the sides and the folded tube for the elastic band.


2. fold and iron about 2 cm. around, and sew along all edges, leaving a small opening for the elastic band. Be sure to leave enough room around the corners for the safety pin+elastic band to go through. If fabric looks like it will fray, you may want to secure the edges with a zig zag stitch before folding.

(accept assistance from volunteers)

3. once the tube is ready, use a large safety pin to hold on to one end of the elastic band, and push it through the tube all around. Be sure to hold on to the other end, so it doesn’t disappear inside the tube.

Once you have both ends come out the opening, tie a knot or sew the ends of the elastic band. Now you can “wear” the new cover over the ironing board like a hat. The elastic band will keep it in place, and keep the fabric stretched. You can keep the old one underneath, for more cushioning.

Done! Now you can enjoy ironing again!! 😉

Here are the Before – After pictures.

Before

Before

After

After

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