Monday, December 29

I like being frugal

Being frugal in meagre times is not a problem for me, since by nature I'm not a wasteful person. I don't usually throw out any food, unless it is really, really off, but then I take a close look at the produce I buy in the first place. My mother has taught me to go for quality rather than quantity, and now I'm really glad I followed this piece of valuable advice! Indeed, some of my clothes are 15 years and older and still in perfect condition. Take these boots, for example. Believe it or not, but I've had them since I was eighteen (I'm on the wrong side of thirty now)! Same goes for that filofax (yes, in matching burgundy leather) - okay, it may be a little scuffed round the edges, but it's still in perfect working order and I wouldn't trade it for one of those electronic devices ever! Besides...I like flipping through the pages and looking at the myriad of notes that I have jotted down over the years.
Same goes for the fabrics I buy, as anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know. I save those scraps and think of ways to re-use them. What about teensy-weensy scraps? They make perfect button covers!

Saturday, December 27

X'mas is over; getting ready for New Year's Eve

I know I wrote I wouldn't be posting until next year, but I just couldn't help taking a quick peek at my blog...and it really was worth it, because I have received another Lemonade Award from Ambrosia at Chronicles of Caelan. What a lovely surprise! Feels like it's Christmas all over again. Thank you so much, Ambrosia. Please visit her delightful blog for an interesting read...
I will be posting a list of my chosen nominees very keep tuned, you may be one of them! Meanwhile, Christmas is over. Gifts have been opened, wrapping paper discarded and disposed of (or in my case, kept to be re-used - yes, I am frugal in that way ☺), and the last of the cookies have been eaten. Our Christmas dinner was a pleasant affair with one surprise guest showing up - an aunt of my husband, who lives across the border in the Netherlands. I'm so glad my organic chicken turned out nicely browned and my apple and almond stuffing was delicious, if I say so myself! So now it's time to get ready for New Year's. Today is the first day the shops are open again after Christmas, and since tomorrow is Sunday, when everything's closed, I got up really early to do my grocery shopping, because I know what it will be like out there by this afternoon! I've even done a little bit of house cleaning. But for the rest of today I have planned to take care of the paperwork, which I have neglected these past weeks! Don't want to start the new year with old bills left to pay! Also, as promised, here is the bag made from Gobelin featuring a whole bunch of cute cats. And NO, I did not cut up granny's wall tapestry ☺ I found this fabric on the remnants table in the local fabric store. It was only a small scrap, but enough to make a front panel of this over-the-shoulder sling bag.

Monday, December 22

Taking a break...

This will be my last post of the year... To my friends across the globe, all my wonderful blogging friends, old and new, and last but not least to my family (also across the globe) who will not be receiving any cards this Christmas because I'm donating the money to a children's fund, and saving a couple of trees...☺ I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas, which you will hopefully spend with your near and dear ones, and a very happy New Year!
See you all back in 2009!!!

Sunday, December 21

Lovely Award for Lovely Purses

I am so honoured to have received an award from my blogging friend Abby over at Simply Charming in SC! What a wonderful surprise, and I am so thrilled!!! You have to visit Abby's amazing blog and take a look at her beautiful jewelry creations!
Now as the rules go it's my turn to select 7 blogs to pass this award on to. I happily give this award to the following blogs (in alphabetical order): Beaded Tail Enjoy work as leisure Health Nut Wannabe Mom rkdsign88 Skitto, Peanut and Chyanne The grass can be greener TNT2008 Hurray!! All of the above blogs are well worth a visit, so please go check them out! The lucky awardees may now follow these rules: 1. add the logo to your blog 2. link to the person from whom you've received the award 3. nominate seven blogs of your choice 4. leave a message on the nominees blogs I wish everyone a HAPPY SUNDAY

Thursday, December 18

Pretty kitties

Now this simple tote was one of the first bags I have ever made. I've had that cat panel for ages, and it was originally destined to become a cushion cover, however I changed my mind: with everyone - myself included - leaning on it, I wouldn't be able to see much of those cute kitties, would I? I'm rather partial to fabrics featuring cats ☺, and I have another bag I will show case here as soon as I have made proper photos - made from an interesting gobelin fabric with a whole bunch of lovely cats! Today being the last school day of this year, I can already hear a few moms sighing relief from the daily school runs! Everything is slowing down here, and I also look forward to a much needed break!

Wednesday, December 17

What I want for Christmas...

... is more time! A fleeting visitor to my blog may think "Oh, another bag lady" ☺, when in fact I have many more pressing obligations than sewing bags. I really wish I could, though. My head is always full of ideas, and I get a little panicky if I don't realize at least one of them. I have a whole notebook full of sketches on my bedside table - yes, the best ideas usually come at night - and my fingers are just itching to get at my sewing machine...but lately I've been inundated with frantic calls from students hoping to squeeze in just one more lesson before Christmas. And if I can help them get better marks on their exams, then that's my first priority! Meanwhile my pile of fabrics will have to wait. I also feel if I put pressure on myself, the joy out of sewing bags diminishes somewhat. After all, it's my hobby, and I want to look forward to it after a days work. I do admire all those power-crafters I come across in blogs here and there. I wish I had that kind of energy! Hubby's got a few days off for the holidays, which is nice, and he helped me with EC dropping, for which I'm eternally grateful. He did however forget to switch to my crafting blog, which is why many of you will have my other widget in your dashboard! A BIG thanks, hubby, anyway, for all your help and support in many other areas of my life too ♥ Also, THANK YOU to everyone who cared to read my blog over the last couple of months, dropping their card, leaving kind comments and making me start my day with a smile.

Monday, December 15

Kimono Girl

This bag is a tribute to Asia, where I have lived, worked and made wonderful friends! I was inspired to make this bag by that cute little ribbon you see in the close up. I've had that ribbon stored in a box and recently re-discovered it when I was looking for something else! This tote is pretty large at approx. 14 x 13 inches (not including the handles). I made it a rounded shape to reflect the round floral pattern of the blue fabric, which coincidentally matches the blue of my ribbon exactly. The top part is a whimsical red fabric with an all-over pattern, also inspired by the red fan in the ribbon. The bamboo handles are store-bought. For the interfacing I have used canvas, which makes this bag pretty sturdy. The inside is a creamy cotton featuring two pockets made from the same red fabric as on the top front. Just looking at it takes me back to those fun times I had in Asia...watching the sunset on the beach, taking a stroll in the Japanese Garden, shopping at the market on Saturdays...sigh.

Saturday, December 13

'Tis the season of peace...

What do you do if a 15 year old asks you (no, begs you), to make her a COOL tote bag? The first thing you do is go to the kiosk around the corner and buy a teen-magazine. The next thing is to sit in a café and surreptitiously eye the outfits of passing teenage girls. Take note of the colours and patterns of their pants, the buttons on their bags, their hair accessories. Then quickly go home and sketch the first ideas that spring to mind. This is what I came up with: I don't normally design bags with teenagers in mind, so this was definitely a challenge. The pink peace sign is appliquéd on the front. Hubby sent me an image of the peace sign via email which I then printed out for reference. I'm embarrassed to admit that I wasn't exactly sure which way up it was! I've added two pockets inside for the ubiquitous cell phone and other stuff a teenage girl can't leave home without! The straps are extra wide and padded, as is the entire bag. The inside lining is a sturdy canvas. I hope I got it right?!

Friday, December 12

Where women create

One of my all time favourite non-fiction books is 'Where women create'. Have you read it?
Not a month goes by that I don't retrieve it from my bookshelf and browse the pages. The images in this full-colour book show off all the neat details of each designers' crafting room. I would love to have a special room just to create, but for now I have to make do with my sewing table in a corner of my home office, which I just about managed to squeeze in! Next to it I have a low cupboard where I keep my sewing notions and tools. I like a clear workspace, so everything is neatly boxed or stored inside the cupboard. Even my shelves are uncluttered. I keep spools of thread and bobbins in compartmentalized cardboard boxes. All my patterns are kept in ziploc plastic bags, which are then labelled and filed away. I have a special box for my precious, vintage buttons, and a wooden tray where I keep my most prized cutting tools. I guess you could say I like being organized!

Thursday, December 11

Bed Slippers

In wintertime I have two ice-popsicles where my feet should be...much to my hubby's annoyance at bedtime ☺ So I made myself a pair of bed slippers. I have used a stripey pink cotton and embroidered two little flowers on top. Best of all, they are lined with Nepalese felted wool to keep my feet warm and cosy. I put them on the heater to warm up half an hour before bedtime. I really should have made them a lot sooner! No more filling up the hot water bottle, which always ends up on the floor anyway!

Wednesday, December 10


Just when I thought to go ahead with a purse using pinks and violets I sold this:
I've had this stored in my cupboard for quite a while now and I'm really glad it's found a new owner, because the fabric is gorgeous. Lovely swirls and paisleys in blue variations mixed with ivory and tan. Reminds me of the sea. The inside is lined with a small, all-over paisley pattern in tan. I've used this for the loop at the side too. I am going to wrap it up nicely now, ready to take to the post office!

Monday, December 8

Christmas Shopping

Well, I'm glad to say I've finished all of my Christmas Shopping, which is no surprise, because I buy gifts throughout the year. I've written about this in a post on my personal blog, which you may want to read here. But what about unexpected visitors knocking on your door at Christmas time? Or maybe you exchange gifts with your neighbours? You would want to have a little gift ready, just in case! I made up a few zipper pouches in red and tan tartan. I wanted something that had a wintery feel to it, so I chose fine italian wool. I didn't need to buy much of the fabric, since these pouches only measure about 15 x 13 cm or approx. 6 x 5 inches. They are lightly padded and lined with either green or orange checks. For that special touch I appliquéd each one with a different motif, i.e. gingerbread man, heart, angels etc., using scraps of fabric. In the picture below you can see two examples. The red tartan one has a little teddy bear with heart; the tan tartan one has a little birdy.
click to enlarge
So now I don't have to worry about being empty-handed!

Poll Results

The colour poll of last week was pretty exciting to follow! Right at the beginning it looked like the blues and greens were everyone's favorite colour. Then by the middle of the week blues and greens stood neck and neck with the pinks and violets. Finally - surprise, surprise - a couple of votes were squeezed in at the eleventh hour and guess what? Most of you prefer: PINKS AND VIOLETS If you're interested in exact percentages per colour group just scroll down to the poll box at the bottom right. I assume most of you live in the since I live in Germany, and in order for this result to 'work' for me, I will have to take into account that most women in Germany prefer toned down colours (isn't that a shame?) This means I will probably use a paler version of the above fabrics or use these together with a neutral fabric, like natural linen. Anyway, I thought this poll was great fun! Thanks for participating!

Sunday, December 7

Notice anything?

Of course you do! How can anyone not notice my wonderful new blog template designed by Sheila of designsbysheila. Why don't you cruise by her site and check out the awesome designs! Meanwhile, my colour poll has closed. I thank all 46 of you who voted. I will elaborate on this in my next post. Keep tuned. Have a peaceful Sunday (2. Advent)

Friday, December 5

A letter from Sammy, the cat

Dear Mommy, it has come to my attention that ever since you joined Entrecard you seem to spend more and more time with that strange, square, plastic thingy that doesn't talk, than with me! In order for us to continue a harmonious relationship I'd like you to change a few things: 1. much, much more cuddling and stroking - but please wash your hands before you touch my fur 2. only stroke my fur in the direction its grown 3. that big seat by the window? THAT'S MINE 4. I want to go out onto the terrace when I want to, even when it's wet! 5. just in case: have a nice, soft towel ready for rubbing me down when I come back inside 6. on really cold days I'd like a hot water bottle placed underneath the cushion of my basket before I go to sleep 7. a change of menu would be nice... Sammy, the cat ♥♥♥ Dear Sammy, You are absolutely right where EC is concerned. Be assured from now on I will restrict my EC dropping to one hour a day - and only when you're asleep. I'm sorry about the time I stroked your fur after I had cooked a meal containing garlic. I'll never do this faux-pas again. Let's about we share that big seat by the window? Please? Oh, when you come back inside from the terrace - please don't jump all over the bedspread with your dirty paws. And talking about paws...remember all those loose threads at the bottom of my curtains? The ones you pulled out with your claws? Well, do you mind pulling the threads back through to the other side? Thanks. So, you're tired of your premium quality, vitamin-rich, highly nutritious cat food? You want the junk from the supermarket? Well, that may result in a spontaneous overnight stay at the local veterinary hotel. Speaking of food - please don't trample all over my stomach after I've eaten a full lunch. Love, Duni

Wednesday, December 3

Nikolaus Tag

On Saturday, December 6th , we celebrate 'Nikolaus Tag' (St. Nicholas Day), in honour of Saint Nicholas of Myra - also known as St. Nicholas the wonderworker, since many deeds and miracles were attributed to him. He was also known as 'the gift-giver' - leaving coins in the shoes of those that left them out for him. Nowadays it's mostly a festival for children. Kids across Europe leave their shoes outside their bedroom door the night before St. Nicholas Day, and the next day they are 'miraculously' filled with colourful wrapped sweets and chocolate. (Thanks, mom☺) More health-conscious parents buy their children a small gift instead (book, pencil case, something useful for school) - sort of like an appetizer before the main course: Christmas! It's also not uncommon for spouses to buy little gifts for each other and we do this among close friends too. At the workplace it's custom for the boss to put a small gift of appreciation on each employees desk. Since this year it's on Saturday, most will receive their present on the following Monday. When I was still part of the 9-5 workforce I was given everything from a huge chocolate Santa to a box of candles to a gift certificate! Boy, did we love those gift certificates! By the way, that little 'Nikolaus' pouch you see in the photo is what my niece and a few of my younger pupils (aged 8 - 10) are going to receive from me...