Sunday, November 29

Final Post in 2020 plus Fabric News & April Rose

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Hi everyone!

2020 is coming to an end and what a tough year it's been for all of us! Especially these last few months have really taken their toll, as I was anxiously watching the US election. My brother and family live there so it does affect me. While I am truly relieved at the outcome and eternally grateful for everyone that came out and voted despite the pandemic, I'm only cautiously optimistic as Joe Biden hasn't been sworn in yet. Even as I write this the current occupant of the White House is implementing destructive policies - honestly, Jan. 20th cannot come soon enough! If you want to know what totalitarianism looks like - check out my childhood home of Hong Kong. Within just one year this vibrant, efficient and sometimes quirky world city has turned into a police state! Ordinary, hard working citizens can and are being snatched off the street for arbitrary reasons by the new "special police". Ring any bells? Hong Kong is officially dead and I can't even begin to describe my screwed up feelings. I'll save that for another post. Top this off with the turmoil in the US plus the raging pandemic (the vaccine will probably only be available to the general public mid to end of next year) and a wannabe dictator vying for the position of chancellor in the election here next year - is it any wonder that my anxiety levels are through the roof?

Sorry, I just needed to vent. Better move on to the pleasant part of this post...



I'm not sure if I've shown these before, but the latest fabrics by Tilda are all about sweet roses in mauve, mint, warm orange and sand. There are some cute buttons to complement the range.

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Some lovely Christmas fabrics from German company acufactum have arrived recently. I'm happy to say that most of these have sold out, but they are on back order and should be back in stock mid-December!






In the card department I have a lovely range of postcards with Christmas motifs and all sorts of useful items for gift wrapping from Krima & Isa


And last but not least there's a wonderful collection of retro inspired Christmas card sets with a "Keep Calm" motto from my lovely friend Siobhan at April Rose. These are exclusively available in my shop. Each set contains eight cards with two designs to easily mix and match and included white envelopes. 

If you're wondering I have temporarily switched off the English version of my shop, because there is a bug that needs to be fixed. I do, however, ship to countries outside Germany. Simply drop me a line if you're interested - duni.buesken(at)gmx(de).



For those who wanted to know - after nursing little Sumi back to health she's is doing much better now, even with just one eye. This makes me happy and I'm so proud of her!

Finally, I just wanted to let all of my long time readers know I appreciate and think of you, even if I may not drop by your respective blogs that often. Wishing you all the blessings of peace and the spirit of love this Christmas season and let's all remain hopeful for the coming year. 
(p.s. I have been receiving loads of spam comments, so I have turned off comments for this post)





Sunday, August 2

New arrival! Card range from April Rose

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April Rose


Hello lovelies,
as I mentioned in my previous post I had been collaborating with my good friend and illustrator Siobhan from April Rose on a new card range. Well, they've arrived fresh from the printers in the UK and are now available in my online shop! The range is a "Keep Calm" series that includes ten original designs in Siobhan's inimitable vintage retro style! I absolutely adore these. The cards are made from FSC certified 300 g paper and have a wonderful matte finish. Here are a few examples...


Apart from the craft-themed cards, there's one for people who love to bake, garden and more. Check them out and all the other cute items at Duni's Studio. 
As mentioned, the regular postal service from Germany to USA and Australia is still suspended, but with cards it shouldn't be a problem, because I can send those as documents. Just a heads up - there are a lot of shipping hold ups currently regardless of where you live, so expect a longer wait time. If you have any questions about these cards or shipping simply contact me at duni.buesken(at)gmx(dot)de.

For readers wondering how my sweet little cat Sumi is doing. Well, it's been touch and go for a while. She's just skin and bones now despite feeding her enriched food several times a day. The trauma of losing an eye seems to be a bit much for an 18 year old. She had been recovering in a room, which I had decked out in blankets and pillows and my heart simply soared when she finally left it on her own almost three weeks after the surgery. It's slow going, but she's learning how to navigate with one eye. Poor baby. My deep wish is that she improves daily and lives out her life as happy and comfortable as possible.

In the meantime, we have been steadily working on turning our garden into a low-maintenance one. We didn't realize when we started this project that it was going to be so time consuming! Then again, it's not like we're going anywhere what with the second wave of the pandemic sweeping through our country. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we finish the big jobs by the end of this year and maybe next year we can start on the fence construction. I admit, I'm not very adept at gardening and the big jobs mostly fall on my hubby's shoulders.

I will end this post with a picture of my handmade cat - which I had to sew twice, as the first one resembled a mouse ;-). Wishing you all a happy Sunday and stay safe wherever you may be in the world.

 

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Sunday, July 12

Acufactum fabrics, April Rose sneak peek & Life lately

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Hortensientraum

Dear blog friends,
just wanted to check in and say hello. We're halfway into 2020 and what an absolutely challenging year it has turned out to be. The pandemic is raging on and most of us are still self-isolating. Especially people who are naturally sociable have a hard time dealing with this. Do reach out to people whom you might feel to be suffering at home alone. Luckily we live in the digital age where it's easy to engage in "face-time" via phone. While I haven't seen any of my friends in person since March, I'm grateful they are all healthy. Same goes for my family members who live in different parts of the world. I try not to dwell on the fact that I might not see them in a very long time.

On top of everything else, we had to rush my sweet little cat to emergency surgery ten days ago. Right up to the moment she was her normal active self, the next moment she was obviously in deep pain and I discovered blood was coming out of her left eye. Turns out a tumor had been growing inside it, which couldn't be seen from the outside. Sadly, her eye had to be removed. What a traumatic experience for all of us, but especially Sumi. She is eighteen years old now, that's eighty-eight in human years, and recovery is taking longer than usual. The first few days I had to feed her by hand. I liquified some chicken with broth, but she would only eat a teaspoon. Thankfully, over the last few days she's been eating more. Also, I had to administer antibiotics. Catmoms will know how difficult this is. I tried every trick in the book. What finally worked was placing the pills in a small container with her usual dry food. Leave them in for at least 72 hours. They will take on the smell of the food.
I then cut them in half and stuck them in the tiniest piece of cooked chicken. This didn't always work on the first try, though. She's doing better today. She's walking around slowly, getting used to navigating with just one eye. My poor baby :( Needless to say I haven't slept well and I'm a bit frazzled from watching her 24/7.

Needless to say all my sewing projects are on the back burner and I'm done sewing face masks, but I couldn't resist this special request for a kid-sized mask with a Hello Kitty patch. I'm (still) a big fan myself. This really is the last one though!



I am grateful that I am able to work from home. The only times I leave the house with my mask on and keeping the required distance from other people is when I go to the post office or grocery shopping. Thankfully, the personnel and other shoppers are sticking to the guidelines. Also, for those who are wondering - I pack my products with disposable gloves on.
For those who have been waiting for newsletters/fabric updates - production has been moving slowly or even halted. At this point I can't say whether I will receive my orders this year or not.
Please bear with me!

Luckily a few fabrics from German company acufactum arrived here last week. These fabrics are all 145 cm wide (58 inches) and are certified oekotex R standard 100% cotton. These fabrics feature the most adorable, whimsical details illustrated by Daniela Drescher. You have seen the popular Pippa & Pelle summer fabric in my previous post. I know it is still early, but check out the winter version. The snow-covered cottage is so cute. And can you spot the little mouse?



Coming from acufactum later this year is the new Winter Collection featuring fluffy sheep, winter grass, cut-out ovals framing sweet children plus dots in a subtle cream, light grey and taupe colorway. I sell these fabrics in units of 25 cm (10 inches), but if you buy more I will obviously leave the fabric in one continuous piece. Btw, regular postal service to USA and Australia is still suspended, unfortunately. However, I have had success with shipments to USA using an international courier service, if you are willing to pay the increased shipping fee. Email me, if you are interested.

And last but not least, I have been collaborating with my dear friend Siobhan of April Rose Illustrations on a new post card series! After final touches have been made the designs are now off to the printers. The cards feature the inimitable style unique to April Rose products. So excited for these and can't wait to share soon! I will reveal this much...it's a Keep Calm series. Here is a sneak peak.


Thank you for reading along and I hope you enjoyed this post. And I truly hope you are taking good care of yourselves, your families and communities. Take care, until next time!

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Saturday, May 2

Spring Summer Fabrics, Tilda & Life lately

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Tilda fabrics / Tilda Stoffe

Hello everyone,

high time I dusted off this little blog of mine! First and foremost I truly hope that you and your families are well and safe. This is a challenging time for all of us and I acknowledge that it is more so for some than others. Please don't despair and please let's be kind to each other.

Back in January my friends in Hong Kong alerted me to the fact that there was a deadly virus coming out of mainland China and that the original whistleblower had been detained and information suppressed. (no surprise there). So I told my close friends and a few family members - but I don't think I was taken very seriously. Regardless, I kept monitoring the situation closely and noticed that more and more cases were being reported from around the world. At some point in February I decided to order surgical face masks. They never arrived. I was able to secure a few from the local pharmacy, but they told me there was a severe shortage everywhere. By March, with the devastating news of virus-related deaths coming out of Italy and the new "hotspot" in Austria...well, by this time no one, at least in Europe, doubted that this was a pandemic. By the end of March Germany finally issued a stay-at-home order (way too late in my opinion) and obviously all big events, including the annual tradefair that I had been attending for the last 10 years, were cancelled. Followed by school and shop closures. I think April is the month when the rest of the world finally woke up that this was deadly serious and afforded a global effort to combat.

This moment in time is a test for humanity. Will we become more nationalistic? Will there be class warfare? I think it's up to each of us to maintain a standard of decency within our communities. It's also wise not to put too much faith in our respective governments. As seen in the last couple of weeks some of our so called leaders are not invested in the welfare of the citizens. Best to rely on your own common sense. I live in the state with the second highest infection cases and rising. Our MP insists on opening up the schools/shops/public spaces right now. Our MP doesn't know how to wear a face mask. He wants to become the next chancellor?! Well, not with my vote, that's for sure.

handmade face masks
While things look dire economically, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate consumerism. Perhaps focus on quality rather than quantity? How about raising wages for essential workers? When all this is over (fair warning = it's going to take longer than you think) we, as a whole, must understand that our previous way of life is no longer sustainable. There are a lot of good people out there who have been trying to implement changes for the better, but it's a slow process. Plus it's the politicians/governments that make the big decisions - that ultimately affect us all. If you are lucky to live in a country that (still) allows voting - don't waste this privilege please.

Shop News

As I already mentioned in my newsletter as well as in my Etsy shop, unfortunately due to the pandemic shipping to USA, Australia and some areas of Europe has been temporarily suspended. This is because the postal service is not working at full capacity at the moment. I am checking daily to see when it's going to open up again. Fingers crossed it will be soon. 

We can all use a bit of cheering up! Cute unicorn stationery available in my online shop

Stationery



Since most of us can't get ahold of face masks a lot of people (myself included) have been sewing them. Some of us have been sewing batches of fabric face masks for hospital staff, children's cancer units, care facilities etc. What an amazing joint effort. Check out Pinterest for plenty of free patterns. There are several types of fabric masks: simple rectangular ones with loops for attaching to your ears, the curved ones with either fabric ties that go around the head or elastic loops.
Good news for all those who want to sew up a batch of face masks, but don't have time to trace the pattern. Sometime in the next two weeks I will be getting in fabric panels with the masks already printed on them! The kit includes the elastic. The masks are double layer and feature funky prints including a rainbow one and a solid color lining. Simply cut and sew. Yay!

coming soon!

I've also received some new whimsical fabrics by Daniela Drescher for acufactum. They are based on her children's books and feature all sorts of sweet details.

acufactum fabrics


And here are some more new arrivals. Pretty pastels in pink, robin's egg blue and natural.

Rue 1800

And lastly, some items I made in the last month or so...


Oh, and one last thing. I think we should refer to social distancing as physical distancing. Describes it much better, don't you think? Thank you for reading along and wherever you may be in the world please take care, stay home and stay safe.
#standwithsmall

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Sunday, November 10

Tilda fabrics, Paper Goods & New Sashiko Threads

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Tilda Old Rose

Hello dear readers!

This year has gone by so fast; I can't believe Christmas will be here in 6 weeks. Looking back I have  spent a good chunk of my precious time in doctor's offices, so a lot of my planned projects had to be put on hold. I am one step closer to figuring out what is causing my persistent symptoms, so there's that. A while ago I decided to focus less on the physical pain and more on the things that bring me joy. The Tilda fabrics seen in the picture above definitely make my heart skip! There are matching buttons in two sizes and woven jacquard ribbon with rose motif as well. I made some Christmas decor using the small red rose and the large grey rose fabric.


If you are looking for unique Christmas cards, check out these vintage-style card sets from April Rose. They come in sets of 8, with two designs and include a white envelope. There are four sets to choose from! Premium quality printed in England.

April Rose Card Sets

Jot down your Christmas gift or to-do list on these fun and practical Christmas-themed note pads from German paper goods supplier Krima & Isa. Matching pencils available too! Apart from these, there's a fun range of Christmas postcards, gift bags, tags, ribbons and advent stickers.

Krima & Isa

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New in are these sweet and romantic fabrics from well-known Japanese fabric supplier Lecien. I had ordered these a long time ago, and I have to admit it's becoming increasingly difficult to acquire these fabrics. The bulk of fabrics usually go to the huge craft stores - independent stores like mine are at the bottom of the list. I'm lucky if I even get half of what I ordered. Nevertheless I love these floral prints from the Antique Flower 2019 collection!

Antique Flower in Pastel

Speaking of Japan, some of you might be familiar with Sashiko, the simple stitching tradition of northern Japan. Sashiko means "little stabs" creating little stitches that look a bit like rice grains. Originally this technique was used to mend and recycle garments with white thread. Nowadays Sashiko has developed into richly patterned and often brightly colored designs. I have been studying and practicing the art of Sashiko embroidery for several months now. I am still learning, but I find the results of the mostly geometric patterns quite satisfying. And now that we've entered the winter season, those long evenings at home are perfect for some meditative Sashiko stitching! You can find the original Sashiko threads in several colors in my shop. I especially like that they come on practical cones. To get started all you need is a long needle with a large eye and some fabric with an open weave, like linen, jeans fabric, cotton flannel etc. You don't require a hoop for this embroidery technique.

I am working on traditional pattern - Shippou

Mini Tutorial using Sashiko Thread


Apart from traditional Sashiko stitching, the thread is suitable for crossstitch, crochet and other crafts, such as tiny tassels or these wrapped beads - Here's my little tutorial for making a Sashiko thread bead necklace!


You will need:


wooden beads with large hole (as used for Makramee)
Sashiko thread
needle with large eye
glue
cord
small wooden beads (optional)

Cosmo Sashiko Thread

How to:


Thread the needle with a very long piece of Sashiko thread, double it up and tie a knot at the end. Dab a little bit of glue on the inside of the wooden bead and press the knotted end of the thread into it. Then start "wrapping" the bead with the thread, carefully pulling it through the hole. Make sure that all areas of the bead are covered. Weave the end through two or three threads on the inside and snip off. You can add a tiny bit of glue to secure on the inside. Make two more. 
Cut a piece of cord to the length you wish your necklace to be. Thread your Sashiko beads and (optional) smaller wooden beads and tie the ends. And you're done! Enjoy :)


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