Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sunday Slowness

Sunday slowness at Snogerups Gård

Picking the last herbs in the kitchen garden and putting the geraniums to bed
Spending hours at a flea market with dear friends and calling it a successful treasure hunt
Finding eleven quinces hidden under wet foliage in the garden
Watching the wild geese in the sky while chatting with the neighbours
Eating small raspberry cakes and drinking tea while folding umpteen glittering paper stars in a merry company
Coming home from a walk in a forest with chanterelles, two feathers and a bouquet of blueberry twigs

A Sunday, calm and slow, exactly what we needed...  

[I hope you are spending a cozy weekend, too]

Monday, 3 November 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 45

Another monday, a new week.

A week that has started with the finishing touches on the facade of a miniature (doll) outhouse that I built last week for a certain little cottage that most of my readers are familiar with. It has been on my to-do list for quite some time - because what is a house without a toilet, right? 
There are still a few details missing, but it I am slowly getting there (and I am looking forward to soon showing you more). 

Slow is also the motto of this week. I will take some time off to recharge batteries but will certainly update the blog with a post or two...

In the meantime, be good to yourself and enjoy the first week of November. May this month be a bright one (despite the decreasing amount of daylight).



Thursday, 30 October 2014

Happy Pumpkin Weekend!

You know, I'll put up something, Kiki says
Something spooky, to scare away 
The old fox who is sneaking
Around the shed, every night

He'd better watch out! I reply
You bet! Kiki says


I know, I am one day early, but: 
Happy Pumpkin Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Physalis alkekengi - Autumnal String of Lights DIY

Are you too in some kind of autumnal nest building mode, decorating the house, making it cozy and comfortable for the winter months? 

I totally am in a nest building mode at the moment, which is why today's lunch break mini craft project to decorate our kitchen with was an autumnal string of lights with the beautiful red husks of Physalis alkekengi, also known as Chinese Lantern, a relative of the Cape gooseberry.

The other day, my friend Linnéa (who has an amazing garden) gave me a basket full of Chinese Lanterns and I felt quite fortunate because I had been scouting the neighbourhood for the past few weeks, always on the look-out for these red beauties!

It is a quick and easy DIY,  all you need is the husks of Physalis alkekengi. At this time of the year you'll find them at the florist's (or ask around in your neighbourhood). Make sure that the husks are still somewhat soft, freshly picked. Use manicure scissors to cut a tiny circle around the little stem and gently remove the small berry that is inside. Leave to dry for a day or two, until papery, then put them on the small lamps of a string of lights, preferably with LED lamps that won't get too warm. You can even use a drop of hot glue to keep the husks in place. Done!

I love these simple light decorations, they spread such a warm light at this time of the year and remind me of my childhood, they are quite common in Germany.  They would also make a fantastic centerpiece when arranged in a bowl (with the light string inside) and I plan to prepare a few more for our Christmas tree this year.

Hope your evening is a bright one!



Monday, 27 October 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 44

Another monday, a new week...

To our joy, it was much brighter today in the morning than last week, although the alarm clock didn't show any difference (a cheer for standard time that makes you believe, at least for a couple of days, that winter isn't as dark as you remembered from last year).

We watched the elk nibbling apples behind our house, had a quick breakfast - and then I started with prop making, something that my main focus will be on for the coming week. In the forenoon, I made this batch of miniature potholders - all made from thin wool yarns that I got a couple of weeks ago. 

A lady in the village was cleaning out her attic, and when she found a box with these woollen yarns, she thought of me. I love the muted vintage colours, they are perfect for the project I am working on - everything you make from these yarns looks as if it has been used and washed for quite some time, such wonderful shades of colours!

What else is happening this week? 

My colleague and friend Suse of RevoluzZza has started a little virtual studio together with me. Nothing big, we are not working on a doll project together, but try to find ways how to connect virtually as colleagues, with shared schedules, to-do lists online, virtual mood boards etc. Like in a studio that two crafters rent together, each working on their own projects, but with a huge sofa and a coffee table and chats during the breaks (and always a door to knock on if you need an expert's advice). Basically, we have been doing this for a couple of years now, as real-life friends, sharing knowledge, inspiration and ideas, but it was about time to explore new ways of online collaborations as crafters. Every monday, we start the week with a virtual meeting and discuss our businesses and our craft projects. It is something that makes the two of us even more look forward to a new week, like a fantastic creative boost after the weekend!

Tomorrow I will find a new home for Storm, will do a lot of photographing, putting up small scenes, preparing two DIYs, writing texts and editing photos, start on two new dolls - and hopefully I will find the time to gather some leaves and pick the last flowers. Emily of MakeLight has created a beautiful autumn decoration for her monthly series 'Styling the Seasons' and I feel honoured that she was inspired by my Hydrangea Garland tutorial that I posted some time ago. Fingers crossed that I manage to do at least half of what I have on this week's to-do list so that I find time to make some flowery displays for our home...

Enjoy the start of the week and have a lovely afternoon and evening!



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Into the Autumn Sky

Come on, little boy, says the north wind, with a blustery voice
While I watch the leaves swirling outside the window
And the chestnuts falling from the tree, plop-plopp-plop
Come on, little boy, come on!

It has been storming for days, so much 
 That there are branches all over the yard
 The gutter sings in a funny tune
And so does the chimney

The roof tiles are dancing in step, all day
And the shutters rattle and shake
In the heavy winds
No weather to play outside, says grandma

There is no better weather to play outside, I think.
Come on, little boy, says the north wind, with a blustery voice 
I put on my coat and a hat, grab my kite
Then I count till ten, open the door
And before grandma has even noticed, I am outside

Oh! What a marvellous weather! 
And with a hoarse laughter, the north wind 
Grasps my hat and hurries down the hill
Just you wait! I shout and start running
Come on, little boy, says the north wind, with a blustery voice 
As I sit on a tree trunk, out of breath
And count beechnuts and empty snail shells in my left pocket
Come on, little boy, come on!

And I watch the leaves swirling in the air
And the chestnuts falling from the tree, plop-plopp-plop
And far away, up on the hill
I can see grandma, waving her kitchen apron
Come on, little boy, says the north wind, with a blustery voice
I count till ten, I grab the string
And in the blink of an eye, I run across the meadow
Past the stable, the old oak tree

Along the fence, across the bridge
Over stones and puddles, through swirling leaves 
Running, rushing, running
 Downhill, downhill
Come on, little boy, I can hear a blustery voice
Right behind me, and all of the sudden
 The wind grabs my kite and takes it
Into the blue autumn sky

Over the roofs, over the tree tops
Over the meadows and hills
With a dancing tail, with a singing string
Far away

As if it was anchored to the clouds

And on the hill, grandma is still
Waving her kitchen apron
Come home, little boy, come home!
With his tousled blond hair and chestnut brown eyes, Storm is looking for a new home on Tuesday, 28th of October. A true little rascal, always climbing in the highest trees, always with pockets full of stones, little twigs and empty snail shells, always with red cheek and scratches on his knees. Storm lives up to his name, without doubt!

He stands 54cm/ 21" tall and is made from organic sheep wool and cotton interlock, just like all my dolls. Storm has a sculptured face, carefully embroidered features, his wig is made of mohair yarn. He a round sculpted bum and little sculpted boy body parts, dimples in elbows and knees, a bellybutton and ears. Apart from a small seam around the neck, all seams and joints are machine-sewn, the torso and limbs are stuffed very firmly to endure many, many hours of play. His kite will be part of the listing as well as a repair set, care instructions and a lavender sachet.

Storm will be travelling properly dressed in dungarees, long johns, underpants, long sleeve shirt, a jacket, flat cap, shoes and scarf. I will be mending all holes in his clothes before we say goodbye, but be prepared - this little rascal loves to climb fences and trees, you better have your sewing kit within reach. You never know what Storm will be up to, he is quite of an adventurous nature.

While most of the dolls I make, are custom doll, Storm will be available in a short auction on tuesday, 28th of October, you can find his the here. The auction will run for three hours, from 06:00 pm to 09:00 pm EDT, you can find a time zone converter here.

It will be exciting to see where the autumn wind and his kite will take him next week!



*if you live in Europe, this equals 28th October 11:00 pm to 29th October 02:00 am CET, Berlin local time. The auction will be held at night time because most of the doll collectors are in Canada and the U.S. Thank you for your understanding.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Vintage Lace Secrets

Today I received a dusty box with pillow-laced and crocheted treasures. Some of them have been handed on for four generations in F's family, and from his grandmother's estate, they were now passed on to me. Such beautiful finds!

As a young girl, F's grandmother was a maidservant at Wanås Castle. She had to look after the children of the family and often told us about those steep and dark staircases up to the maidens rooms and how scared she was every evening when she had to go upstairs with just a candlestick in her hands. In the nights, when everyone was asleep, she could hear the wooden floors squeaking, as if someone was walking hither and thither, restlessly, every night.

I imagine that a few of these laces once have been stored in a heavy oak cabinet in the manor house at Wanås. Maybe they'll whisper me a little secret when darkness is falling, a secret about steep staircases, old wooden floors and nocturnal guests...

(or maybe, maybe, although Halloween never has been my holiday, I am about getting into a spooky mood ;-)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Clothes for a little boy

Clothes for a little boy. Comfy long johns, a warm scarf, a woollen flat cap, longsleeve, practical dungarees for climbing trees, undies and shoes. And as it is with little boys with red cheeks and tousled hair - if they run with their kite down the hill, the jacket* gets thrown somewhere in a corner because "I am so, so warm, mommy". Oh well, better get some cough tea ready...
It is so much fun making vintage-style clothes with a fresh and modern touch for little boys (and, for that matter, for girls). Putting together fabrics, choosing yarns, flipping through books from 1940's and 1950's was something I enjoyed a lot when working on this little rascal.

Storm stands 54cm/21" tall and will be available for a short auction on Hyena Cart on tuesday, 28 October, from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDT. More info about the where's and how's will follow during the weekend as well as a lot of photos - stay tuned. 



*for those of you who worry about this being a case of child neglect, Storm does have a warm jacket, just for the record. I'll make sure he will travel properly dressed to his new family next week ;-)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

DIY - How to instantly age wood

My workspace upstairs has recently turned into a wood workshop, I am cheerfully sawing, sanding and drilling for a larger project. Last week, when I posted this photo, I promised you a little tutorial on how to age wood so that it looks like as if it has been exposed to the weather for years. 

The thing I love most about making props or building small scenes is that often you only need one or two little secrets to make something look realistic. One of my favourite tricks is how to instantly age wood with only two ingredients, vinegar and steel wool (and a couple of hours waiting time):

All you need is a clean glass jar, white vinegar (mine is a 12% vinegar essence), fine steel wool and a paint brush plus plain wooden objects such as doll clothes pegs, baskets, ready-made doll furniture from the craft store - or anything else with an untreated wooden surface. 

** Make sure that the steel wool is one that gets rusty after some time. I prefer to use the fine steel wool that contains soap - the one you use in the kitchen to scour pots and pans. The best is to rinse it thoroughly before you use it to get rid of the soap.**

Put the steel wool in a jar and cover with the vinegar. Put the lid on, but only gently, so that the gas that develops due the chemical reaction can escape. Let sit for at least 24 hours, shake or stir gently every now and then.

Find a good place to work with the solution. The best is to wear an old t-shirt and to cover the work table. Use a paint brush to apply the solution. It takes a few minutes for the mix to react with the wood - better wait before you apply too much of the solution. 

If you want to paint smaller objects, such as miniature clothes pegs, you can also dip and dye them, it takes only a few seconds. Depending on the kind of wood you use, it will turn out darker or lighter.

For an even stronger paint solution, you can let the mix sit in the jar for a week or so. I always keep a jar in my craft cupboard and dilute it with vinegar or with water. Another trick is to throw in some rusty nails or the like. Some people use even strong black tea.
In the photo above you can see the difference between the untreated wood and the part where I used two, three brushstrokes. I also love that the mini clothes pegs look as if someone has forgotten to take them on a clothesline during winter.

The vinegar-steel wool solution is also perfect to age/ dye fabrics or paper or papier-mâché. If you want to use it on a larger furniture, I'd recommend a large (plastic) jerrycan because it is difficult to get exactly the same shade once you finished the solution. Also, try in a hidden spot on the furniture first - different kinds of wood react differently.

Have fun aging fairy doors, doll house panels and wooden Christmas decorations from the craft store!



Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 43

Another monday, a new week.

A week that started stormy and with a basket full of chestnuts, brown like the eyes of this little someone - a boy doll that I am about to finish for an auction next week.

He really needs a proper haircut, but I have been avoiding those finishing steps in the past few days because the light has been so bad. I do have a talent for accidentally cutting holes (and for broken needles, that is), and when touching up the ears and sideburns with a mini trimmer, a good portion of daylight is of great help, but the past few days have been really gloomy here. You know that winter is on its way when it feels like dusk around noon already...

What else am I looking forward to this week? 
Making doll clothes and doing lots of wood work, starting on a few craft projects for our house, taking photos of the little fellow above and collecting the last daily flower bouquets of this season.

I hope your week started with a fresh breeze, too!



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Adagio Molto

  Through the woods, towards winter.
The falling leaves and the wing beats of the wild geese high up in the grey October sky sound like an adagio molto in minor today. 
We fill our baskets with the last chanterelles and crabapples. 
On our way back home I find a little raspberry and for a short moment, I can taste late summer days.

/// enjoy the weekend ///