Sunday, July 25, 2010

Up and away

I am just dropping in here to say that I have been busy last week with a custom order - that's why it had been a little bit quiet, but, shame on me, I can't show you any pictures of the finished book, yet. And I won't do so next week, too. But I am not willingly mean, no. I am simply already - as you may have guessed by this posts heading - away from home and so I will be the whole next week - visiting some friends, helping them move and throwing fresh paint onto their walls ...

So next time, I will be posting some pictures of the book and by that time, it will be already august ... summer is slowly coming to an end over here, which makes me sigh. Don't you also think, time always rushes by too fast?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coptic headbands

As you may remember - somewhere hidden deeply in a dark corner of your mind, in case it didn't get lost completely, but I won't blame you if so - I won an instructional book about how to make coptic headbands written by buechertiger way back in february. In case you already asked yourself whether I will ever put it to use or have forgotten it, well then, here is the answer ...

No, I definitively haven't.

and another detail shot ...

I hope, I did everything right - in case anyone might notice some mistakes, just tell me, since it is the first time I did those so-called simple two-colored coptic headbands. Anyway, it was fun doing them, and I felt that they add some sturdiness to the finished coptic bound book besides looking very decorative.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blue water and the heat

For several days now, it's so hot outside and in here, that even the tiniest amout of water seems to promise a refreshment - looks nice, but I am not sure about the taste, though ...

Just looking at those fresh and bright colors helped a (very little) bit not to literally melt away within minutes due to the heat - the icecubes in my glass weren't that lucky ... but I guess, it would freak me out, if they had eyes ;) ... see, I must have gotten at least some degree of brain damage due to overheating ;).
Anyway, I still managed to more or less *finish* a new, experimental addition to the inspiration wall.

... *off to eat a huge dish of ice-cream* ...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Old stuff also works

A nice person told me lately, to allow myself to be experimental - and so I did ...
Sometimes, it's the old stuff that works when you don't want to waste *precious* or expensive paints or paper for simple sketches or doodles: pages from an old, discarded book - or my old liner pencils and a simple box of paints which I haven't touched since I left school ... and that was sure a while ago.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Do you know the feeling when you see something that inspires you, and you immediately have to do or make something with this inspiration? Happened to me this weekend when we saw a movie about China - it was just a tiny scene in the movie's intro which was showing some kind of swirls. I tried to work out a *swirly looking* binding (never would have done so last week, but this week I made the binding test cards ...) and here is what I came up with:

Next time, I'd choose a diffent color scheme - red, black and white, perhaps - but as always, I grabbed the next scrap piece of felt, which was a bright green, so I ended up with bright green on the cover, too. The pocket-sized book measures about 11 x 8 cm and is filled with 200 blank, off-white pages with torn egdes. Since it is completely handsewn, I was pretty glad, I made this one rather small ;) ...

The reason why I do not like the color scheme of this book right now is my current liking for bright white and pale blues - only, I didn't even notice before having a closer look on my *inspiration* wall ... ahem, actually just a few pins and doodles on a hemp cord.

... well, seems, inspiration mostly finds you when you are not looking for it, isn't it so?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Since I am still giving the sewing machine a time-out, I switched to simple but nice handstitches - a blanket stitch, to be exact - to do sewn egdes of projects for now. Pretty time-consuming, but the results are worth it.

I started with a large suede leather book - size about 21 x 16 cm - with handpainted details on the cover, a handstitched edge and 200 pages of creme-colored, french laid paper with wave cut egdes. I decided to keep the binding rather simple. It is bound in a combination of longstitches and linkstitches, a modifacation of a binding I tested on the binding test cards.

I also made, only much more quickly ;), a birthday card for my sister; thrown together because I did not have a card at hand and let's be honest, because I don't like the cards you mostly find in shops - often, they are too kitschy or too impersonal. The card is simply drawn on a scrap piece of linen-cotton fabric, backed with blank cardboard for writing and the edge is done in blanket stitch.

Since we are living rather far apart, I hope my sister had have a nice birthday party with lots of friends and fun this weekend ... xoxo, big sis.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Use your hands

Let's just resume this week and the one before under the headline *back to basics - doing stuff by hand* ... I don't know whether it is my *magical* hands or the hot weather - the technical stuff I am using seems to beg for a summer vacation. Well, the demon in my sewing machine decided to appear again, nothing new to me - luckily after I finished a birthday present for a friend - a gardening apron, since there are plants all over her home. 

So, damn, where to hell have I left the number of the exorcist?
Whereas, the fact that the graphics card of my computer went on strike was pretty new to me. The only positve thing to mention here was that there wasn't much to see either, since the internet skipped working, too ... o_O ... as well as the telephone. Oh, yeah. So, besides a lot of frustrating hours in front of some cryptic programs, updates, test runs and so on I used the time to do some experimental stuff ... ahem ... no presentable results here, so I am just pretending I was trying to take some nice pictures of my messing  around with inks ;)

or my playing around with fimo (polymer clay)...

or my fiddling with threads...

The fiddling with these *binding test cards* was a nice way to work out some bindings and to test how to modify the stitches. So at least, there was one - more or less - presentable result. The first, rather small (5,5 cm x 8 cm) book I made with a leather cover, sewn with linkstitches and a modified longstitch.

The blue book below the leather book still needs to be sewn, but I haven't decided on a binding yet, since the binding should match the handsewn edge ... maybe I will do it today, or maybe, I am just going to enjoy the brilliant summer weather ...

Have a nice weekend, everyone - one without technical issues, but with a lot of sun :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hello, chaos, welcome home

It happened again, although I tried very hard to avoid it and keep things sorted ... I have been visited by my old friend - guess who? Yeah, you are right, the name is chaos *sigh*.

Well, at least, I won on the stay sorted side, but I badly lost on the finishing projects side. The visit seems to be the revenge for all the painting I did lately, just too many pieces on that *fabric-painting-pile*. But on the other hand, it's always nice to find long forgotten things underneath the ones you still remember ;). Although there are always some things I like to stay buried ... awful color combinations, unsightly experiments or simply overall epic fails.

This is what I found when I sorted through the paintings pile, see that seastar in the lower corner? I totally forgot about it, it was among one of the first paintings I did - months ago ... Sad, isn't it? But well, I guess, that is just me - slightly chaotic and ticking slower than the rest of the world. The proof can be seen above.

The only book I finished lately (although I admit, I had to deal with severe/stupid computer problems for a while which needed to be solved) can also be considered as an experiment. It is a handpainted softcover fabric jounal with a polka dot, hot pink sideflap and off-white pages with pink colored egdes, bound in a combination of long stitches and link stitches. Whether it is totally unsightly or not, may be up to you ;).

I guess, I should stop writing now and get some things done ;)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Starting small and simple

Going back to bookbinding, I started small and simple with one of the most basic bookbinding stitches, the pamphlet stitch. And since I wanted to use three already cut up tiny pieces of a larger piece of handpainted fabric, I made three tiny pamphlets - to be easily tucked away in the backpocket of a jeans or any other pocket.

And what is the best thing about summer - besides the sun and icecream, of course ;) ? All sorts of fresh fruits, naturally. So I quickly made an easy summer dessert cooking some fresh peaches, lime juice and leaves of fresh peppermint - it still needs to cool down and be put into the refrigerator, but already smells delicious.

If your garden is full of mint or peppermint, too, like the one my peppermint came from, why not give this recipe a try?  Looks incredibly yummy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ah, well ...

... how I wish I would have been busy as a bee lately, but instead, I have been enjoying some books (ahem, reading, not binding them), the sun, far too much icecream and some new high-tech toys ...

So, I admit I am a rather lazy bee, getting easily sidetracked by all sorts of things ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Scraps, stains and the sun

Hi there again on a finally sunny day :) - it's the first one since days, weeks ... ages? Well, anyway, I immediately took this chance to take some (hopefully) better pictuces of two items I made some time ago, both came into life more or less by accident.

The first item is a set of some fabric coasters completely made of fabric scraps - a great way to use up your scraps, in case you have some of them left and you have no idea what to do with them. Originally, I did not plan to make some coasters, I just happened to doodle on some pieces of left fabric, really nothing fancy. Then I started to randomly sew them together with some simple hand stitches ... sew sew sew ... et voilá: coasters.  I also gave them a handstichted back of some leftover handdyed fabric to make them reversible when I don't *feel scrappy* ...

The second item is a placemat made of thick cotton fabric which I really liked - until it got in touch with the lovely man I am merried to ;). Well, he added his own decor to it... Unfortunately, I don't really like random stains, especially not the ones of the kind *I am here and I will never leave you again*. So what to do with a stained placemat when nothing really works to remove the stain? Well, throw it away, or be inspired by the stain(s) and throw more *stains* onto the placemat ... Grabbing some fabric paint, I went with the second option.

Now, the meals are always a little bit more colorful :) - and by the way, those stains inpired me to do more drawings, like the one I showed you in this post. So, you never know, what might become of a random doodle.

 And since it is starting to get warmer and sunny outside, I could not resist to bring some spring onto my desk by picking up some tiny flowers in the park. They are nothing special, but particularly the daisies remind me of my childhood when the grass we played on as children was filled with numerous dots of white and yellow ...

Hope, you picked up some flowers or some kind words (as I did) for your moms last Sunday, too - or had a great day as a mom. Bye and have a nice and sunny day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring and dots

As promised, I am going to try to catch up a little bit. And since today is a very grey day here - same as most days this spring here - I thought I might share some ideas for simple ornaments I made back in february and march to add some color (especially some bright green) to exactly such grey days to instantly lighten up the day and the mood.

And last, but not least, my favortite ones: I simply love the vintage feel of the lace pieces in combination with the bright colors of the felt. They were a gift to my mother-in-law, but on that day, she wasn't the only one who wanted to keep them. Guess, next year I will have to make a lot more sets than just one ...

So much for today, I am off with some words which are (at least for me) perfectly suited for grey and rainy weather to keep me smiling. ;)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's been a while

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry to all those who already started to complain about that, and yes, shame on me for neglecting my posting. ;) Seems the time in-between now and then got lost in some strange time consuming vortex (aka life)... 

Anyway, since I haven't spent my time doing nothing - I actually got heavily lost in painting and drawing, there is quite some stuff to show to catch up. But be aware, I somehow got crazy about bright colors. For now, just a tiny sneaky picture ...

More to come, promised ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A present on my otherwise empty desk

Yesterday, a letter full of motivation arrived. It is a nice present, now laying on my desk, from the bookbinding artist buechertiger who hosted a give-away on her blog to share her birthday with her readers. Surprisingly, I was the lucky winner. If you are interested in bookbinding or anything related with it - such as paste paper and the making of it - just head over and have a look! You will find a lot of interesting tips and hints on those and a lot more subjects. 

This *reverse birthday present* is a book about different ways to make coptic headbands, it is filled with detailed descriptions and a lot of easy-to-follow photos. I am really looking forward to trying it! Thanks again, buechertiger!

Only, given the current state of my workspace which is still an empty desk in a corner rather than a real workspace, I guess I will have to be patient until everything is finished. And well, if you think, hey there's a lot of space to work on - then you are right. But: there is nothing to work with ... *sigh* I am in constant *search mode* for all my tools which seem to play hide-and-seek with me right now ... But I still can withstand their attempt at driving me crazy ;)

As I mentioned, I am progressing. Our new shelves are finished and have also already passed their *bunny security test*, so the niche behind the desk will soon be filled (or cluttered up, who knows) and the coming weekend will hopefully be used to add/build the last missing items. I am finally looking forward to replacing the screwdriver with needles and the saw with a more delicate cutting tool. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Simple colors

Back in time, just before the weekend - and still fighting with paint and chaos *sigh*. But at least, I am progressing - *yay* for that :). And I am keeping the promise, and will show you what I have been working on just before I took my vacation in Chaosland.

All of them are fabric prints on natural, unbleached cotton, made with all kinds of materials I had at hand: potatos (released my inner child), rubber stamps, cardbord rolls, buttons, foam and plastic packaging, cork from a wine bottle - see, really anything works. Although I am not sure yet if I dare to cut the prints down or use them as whole pieces ... Anyway, here are some colorful candies for your eyes - the icy blue, light pistacio green and light purple ones are my favorites, what are yours?

Have a colorful weekend :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Typo toy

In-between the sawing and screwing I am doing at the moment, I simply needed some distraction in form of *surfing* ;) And of course, I spent a lot more time with clicking than I should have. But at least, I came up with this - it's a really cool toy, easy and simple to use, just fun:

You can make your own *wordle* using any text or source you like, just head over to Happy playing :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

So slow

Hello again, out there. Everything around me feels just like a blank canvas which needs to be filled, same way as with this blog which I have been slightly neglecting during the past few days. Posting was postponed because we are (still) figuring out and building a new workspace for me - besides throwing some new paint onto the walls. All my stuff has been crammed into a tiny corner, so that I won't be crafting anything anytime soon. I'd like to show you our 3D Tetris (for those who still know this game - it was one of my favorites ...) - literally piles of boxes and boxes - but, ahem, my card reader is somewhere in there ... So, no photos for now, maybe later.

I also will show you some fabric printings I have been doing before the *big chaos* started which were inspired by the fabulous Elizabeth Hartman from Oh, Fransson! I so much want to bring more color into our home, and her new quilt along would be just perfect to do so, only, I am lacking all those bright colors. So I came up with my own solution, but more of it (hopefully) next week ;)

For now, I will be taking a break - at least from crafting - diving back into the fumes of freshly painted wood and walls.

Have a nice weekend everyone, Denise.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sorting and shibori

I am currently sorting all the stuff in my *studio* to fight the overwhelming mess and chaos - it is quite chaotic even for me. And anyway, isn't it a good thing to start the new year sorted and tidy? Unfortunately, I started with those embroidery threads - something I don't even use that often at all ... All of them were tiny bits and pieces left from mums old or never finished projects, knotted into one (yes, really one) big mess. But since the mess was a gift, I can't complain, right? I did cut all the paper spools to size to fit them into a small drawer of a well known little IKEA chest. And I sorted them by color to finally know all the threads I now own. If anyone had told me it was that much - I guess I never would have believed it. Luckily, I am close to finish with the threads ... So, just the rest of the *studio* left ...

In-between all the sorting, I simply had to do something *more creative*, so I crabbed a simple piece of white cotton fabric, one of the threads I was sorting and dyed the piece with things I found in my kitchen. I dyed the fabric in very hot water, to which I added some concentrated vinegar and ground curcuma - et voilá - bright yellow. Although the fabric is not ironed yet, I think the result is okay for the very first try to dye things like this. I don't know yet, what I am going to do with it, but since I am a *fan* of japanese art and culture, it is always interesting to actually learn new things related with this culture.

The contrast of the original white and the bright yellow is not very hard, but I don't mind, because after all, the yellow really brought a dash of color into my day as a contrast to the snowy white outside :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking back

Again, another year has passed by far too fast with all the small and big changes, it brought for all of us. One big thing for me was that I discovered - and still am discovering - the joy of bookbinding. Having put bookbinding away for nearly one and a half month now, I am trying to motivate myself to resume it by reminding myself with all the books I made in that past year. And yes, it's really for self-motivation ;) since I tend to be easily carried away with different and new things I am learning and discovering (prooved by the accusing looks the unfinished bookcovers are always giving me when I see them on my shelf o_O). However, I think bookbinding is the ideal project to combine so many different aspects of paper work, drawing, painting, sewing... within one object of not only decorative but also funtional purpose one can actually use every day.

Beginning with a quickly done book with nearly no knowledge of what I was doing back at the end of July and ending with - hopefully - better ones in November ...

If you are interested in the appropriate links, just klick below.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

I am just stepping by to wish everyone out there a happy New Year. I hope your holidays were joyful and peaceful and you had a great New Year's Eve.

All the best for you in this fresh and upcoming new year!