Monday, March 31, 2014

Scandinavian style

It's week 2 of Project Run and Play. This week's assignment is to design an outfit inspired by your favorite vacation spot. Choosing my favorite spot (or area, actually) is easy. I love Scandinavia. The beautiful, rugged nature. The brightly colored houses, the soft light, the sing-songing language. And the design of course. 
Inspired by the color palette of Scandinavia, I made a color-blocked t-shirt for my daughter.  
The striped fabric is an upcycled shirt, the yellow is a nice high-quality knit (used in a very different color combination before), and the puffin fabric was a gift from Sinterklaas. It's a bit too busy to be used for large areas, but perfect for a fun pocket.
I hope this shirt will become a favorite this summer!
 By the way, the light balls are cotton balls, named Happy Lights. You can buy them in many different colors. They've brightened up our home all winter long.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

With a bit of help from the sun

One of my best friends just gave birth to her first child: a pretty little girl.  With help from the sun and some leaves, I made her a bunting and a dip-dyed onesie. I used my new favorite technique: sunprinting! It's so easy, and so pretty.

This turned out just as I envisioned: light, airy, fresh, fairy-like, spring-y. 
Perfect for the pretty baby that it was made for!

By the way, editing the photos for this post probably took me more time than making the stuff. Getting the white balance right was tricky, and then Blogger screwed up by changing the colors automatically, making my photos way too dark. Grrr. I finally found out that the culprit was an automatic enhancement function in Google+. Apparently, Google does not approve of my overexposed images. So if you ever encounter this problem as well, try turning off the automatic enhancement function.

Monday, March 24, 2014

One-nap project: sunprinting tutorial

Recently, I did a great discovery! Well, a great 'crafting discovery' that is. I discovered sun printing. I had read about it online, but never tried it, thinking it involved special attributes such as light-sensitive paint, very bright sunlight and whatnot. Turns out, you can do it with regular fabric paint, it is extremely easy, and the effect is quite stunning. It's the perfect nap-time project.
What I learned is that sun-printing does not even require the sun. An old fashioned lamp (which not only emits light, but also heat) can do the trick as well. That's because you need heat instead of light. The heat lets the area around the mask dry faster than underneath the mask, soaking away the paint from under the mask. And this trick works really well, as I'll show today!

So let's do a little tutorial.

What do you need:

  • cotton or knit fabric
  • regular fabric paint
  • a paint brush
  • leaves or other objects that can function as masks
  • a work area (I used a cutting board from the kitchen, but a plastic-covered cardboard will also work)
  • the sun, or an old-fashioned light-bulb type lamp (if there is no sun, or if it is very windy outside)

  1. Soak the fabric and place it on your work area
    Your attributes
  2. Water down your fabric paint and apply it to the fabric. You can mix different colours or leave a part unpainted for an interesting effect.
  3. Put your masks on top of the fabric. I found that young cow parsley (fluitekruid) leaves give a beautiful wispy effect.
    Cow parsley
    Do not use freshly cut leaves, since these will be too crisp. They need to be a bit soft and limp, so that they lay nice and flat on the fabric. Of course you can also use other things as masks: buttons, coins, cutlery, keys, maybe even paper masks (haven't tried that yet). Just use your imagination.
    Waiting for the sun to appear
  4.  Now, the hardest part ;-). Put your mask-covered fabric in the sun and wait. Just wait.

    I told you, the perfect one-nap project
    Have a cup of coffee! And try to suppress your curiosity. Feel. Not dry yet? Have another cup of coffee.... See, I told you this is the perfect nap-time project!
    Let's have another one!

    Wow! Better than freezer paper stenciling

  5. Is your fabric dry? Now, the best part. Take away the masks and reveal your patterns. Pretty, isn't it?
These triangles will become a baby bunting for a little baby girl. Curious about the result? Come back later...

Kingfisher shirt

Project Run and Play has started again. I really like the themes of this season, so decided to give it a try to sew along. Let's see if I can make it through all four weeks... Anyway, I decided to keep things 'simple', and only sew one item per week. This week's challenge was to create an outfit inspired by your favorite animal. 
I decided to make a color-blocked shirt inspired by the colours of the kingfisher. They have an amazing blue colour. I used to row when I was a student, and sometimes (very rarely) we would see a blue flash speeding just above the water. That's the most I've seen of them in real life. Fortunately, the web is abundant with beautiful pictures of these birds.  
The shirt was very easy to make. I simply took a blue onesie that J had outgrown lengthwise. I cut off the bottom half about 1 inch below the armpits. Then I created the bottom half of the shirt from greyish brown jersey and added it to the remainder of the onesie. To create the pocket I reused an old t-shirt, using the existing hem as the top of the pocket (next time, I will line it or back it with some interfacing, to give it a bit more stability). Add a waistband, a little tag, and done!
The shirt is paired with basic brown knit pants that I made a while ago. That makes it a complete handmade outfit after all. 
During the photoshoot, J decided to do some good kingfisher imitations. He wouldn't sit still for one single second. Instead, he speeded through the room on hands and knees and tried to dive headfirst from the couch to catch a fish (ehm, toy). So most of my photos contained nothing more than a blue hazy flash...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

One-nap project: fun knee patches

 Sometimes I crave a fun little project that I can complete within an hour or so, giving me instant satisfaction! This whale patch was such a project. 
Patching pants doesn't have to be boring! In fact, the most popular pin from my blog features jeans patched with a bunch of denim stars.
I ripped the outer seam, cut out this whale from an old pair of jeans and appliqued it onto the knee. 
Add some extra stitches to draw the spout, mouth and eye, sew back the outer seam and you're done! 
Instant reward!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A panther in the woods again

Look what I spotted in the woods today! A toothless panther.
M (who lost all of her front teeth) had circus week at school. Yesterday they all dressed up as circus artists and gave a small show for the parents. M wanted to be a panther, of course! 
I recently read some tips online on how to take photos with backlight, and wanted to try it. So we went out in the 'golden hour', just before sunset, and took these photos. It's quite tricky to get the right amount of flare and overexposure, but I like the dramatic effect given by the backlight. And who would guess that these photos were taken in the park, no more than 5 minutes from our house, in the middle of the city?
By the way, the panther hoodie was blogged here. The cape was a present from Sinterklaas (not blogged).