living handmade

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Let’s dress up as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger!

harry potter-3 harry potterharry potter-2 At least that’s what my kids wanted to be for this year’s Carnival in school. The decision didn’t surprise me as we started to read from the Harry Potter books before going to bed a few weeks back. There is a Harry Potter fever in our house! And for you who know me; I really don’t mind that. I’m a mega-Harry Potter- nerd 😉 I knitted the scarfs, I made the robes based on the pattern below (found on Kostuum.com), but the Hogwarts badge, I ordered online (on eBay) as well as the ties. The wands are plain chop-sticks. I also thought that Harry needed his owl Hedwig, so we bought her as well. The cage is from the famous Belgian flee market: Jeu de Balle. Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 17.33.26


Barbie house rehab!

barbie house-8barbie house-7 We have a beautiful wooden Barbie house, but they kids never played with it. The house had painted furnitures on the wall and my kids didn’t like that. They said they wished it had wall paper like in real rooms instead. We decided to do a mega clean up of the house we had instead of giving it away. First, we through away half of the dolls. Plus a lot of the half-broken plastic furnitures that came with it. All the small things that comes with a Barbie house; clothes, bags, food, glasses, make-up etc, was thrown into a big box next to the house where they had been long-gone forgotten. My philosophy when it comes to toys is: the less they have, the more they play with it! Therefore, they got to keep 6 of their favourite Barbie dolls, two boys and two girls, plus 2 small Barbie kids. The box went away. Anything they wanted had to fit into the house, if it didn’t we threw it away. I took down my old dollhouse furnitures and small things from the attic instead (I made lots of miniature things in my late teens) and we got to work on our new house. We found some pretty printed Japanese rice paper in DIY shop which we mod-podged to the walls. We added drawer lining to the floors, apart from the bathroom, which we painted. We also painted the outside walls in plain white. The plants are painted and cut masking tape glued to metal wire, put into a flower pot made of clay before drying. The closet of the balcony is made from a BBQ stick, attached to the ceiling with looped screws. The hangers are metal paper clips that we re-shaped. The shoes and bags are stored in a storage furniture for my old dollhouse. The result is an original and pretty Barbie house that they finally play with a lot. It feels like a real house now! barbie housebarbie house-2 barbie house-3 barbie house-4 barbie house-5 barbie house-6   barbie house-9

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DIY – All natural heating pad



Did you know that heating pads are CRAZY easy to make by yourself? You can do them in any size you want and using any scraps of fabric you might have lying around, even old and broken clothes, which is why this project is perfect for recycling. You could also make very small ones for you children and have them decorate them with textile pens. Any kid will love a warm little bag on their bellies before bed time, especially if they helped making it.

Here is my version of a microwaveable rice (sweet lavender-smelling) heating pad that you can use for your neck, belly, leg or head! Or just to cuddle with 😉 Heat it up by putting it in the microwave oven for about 5 min on full speed.





What you’ll need:


* Cotton or linen fabric (if you use anything else, it might melt!)
* 1 kg – 2,2 pounds- of any kind of rice from the supermarket
* matching thread
* sewing machine
* scissors
* lavender oil (optional)



How to do it:


1. Iron your chosen fabric. Cut out as much as you need, following the grain line of the fabric. A good size to start with could be 20×40 cm (7″8 x 15″7).




2. Fold the fabric right side to right side and pin the edges. Leave an opening of about 10 cm (4″) on the short side. (I always mark out my openings with double pins so that I don’t miss them 😉 )




3. Stitch around (remember to leave the opening open!) with normal straight seam, about 1 cm from the edge. Zig zag the edges. (again, not on the opening!)




4. Get help from someone to fill the pad with rice (my daughter is always my extra hand!). A good trick is to “hook hold” the opening with your fingers and then carefully pour in about one kilogram of rice (2,2 pounds). If you want to add lavender oil, now is a good time to do it. A few drops will be enough. Drop the oil into the rice, close the opening with your hand and shake so that the rice will mix with the oil.




5. Close the opening: Fold down the seam allowings of the opening with an iron or with your fingers and pin the edge nice and neat. Stitch on top of the pad, from the right side with a normal straight seam, about 3-5 mm (0,2″) from the edge.
Finished! Now you can go and warm up that aching belly of yours. Good luck!

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DIY – The Solar system in papier-maché




This week we decided to start a little science project with our kids: we created the solar system in papier maché.

We wanted it to be as accurate as possible for them to understand the immense depth of space, but with a 7 meter wide living room ceiling the sun itself wouldn’t have been bigger than 1 mm (!!) so we had to do a compromise: we marked out the correct position of the planets against each other, but cheated on the actual size of the planets instead. And now we have a very interesting decoration in our living room on which we can look up in wonder! Below are some calculation doodles.




You’ll need: 


* party balloons
* christmas tree balls
* any kind of paper
* scissors
* (acrylic) paint
* water
* flour
* a bowl
* measuring tape
* string
* transparent thumbtacks and transparent string
* pins and needles
* tape





Step [one] – make the papier maché :


1. Mix together one part water and one part flour to a smooth paste. Boil one more part water and add to the paste. Whisk smooth and the paste is ready.


2. Tear lots and lots of paper strips from catalogues, supermarket advertising, newspapers and other kinds of junk paper you might want to get rid of. Store in a bag for easy access.






Step [two] – let’s shape some planets: 


1. Start by studying the sizes and distances, we used these awesome 3D images we found online for details and inspiration.


2. Once you’ve decide on your shapes, start dippin’ ! We used christmas tree decorations for Venus and the Earth, rolled small paper balls for Mercury and Mars, blew up balloons for Uranus, Neptune, Saturn and Jupiter.


Dip a strip of paper in the papier maché paste and glue it onto your mould/shape. Continue dipping paper, smoothing out possible creases with your fingers, dip and paste more paper until you feel like you have a well shaped planet in your hand. 2-3 layers should do it. Leave the planets to dry for at least 24 hours until you paint them. You will feel when they are hard and dry, that will be the time to paint!






Step [three] – paint the planets:


1. If you’ve used colourful catalogues as paper, it might be a good idea to do a primer, a plain white paint to cover up ugly underwear advertisements. Let dry for a few hours if you’re using acrylic paint. Again, you’ll know to the touch when the paint is dry and ready to be re-painted.


2. Once the primer paint is dry it’s time to do the fun part! Paint the planets in their characteristic colours and with their typical details and leave them to completely dry. Oh, and if you’re wondering: that orange planet ball was actually suppose to be the sun, although certainly not to scale. We decided not to use it in the end, so it will be re-painted for the Christmas tree next year instead 🙂






Step [four] – installation:




1. Attach a string between the first and last of your planets with thumbtack. Mark out the position of the planets with transparent thumbtacks.


2. Cut away any ugly thread that might have been hanging on the Christmas decorations and replace it with a nice transparent thread instead (a fishing line will do fine!) Attach the tread to the planets by sewing it on through the paper with a needle or use tape. Hang the planet on the correct thumbtack. We painted a piece of cardboard for the rings of Saturn and taped and sewed it in place.








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Starting an Art journal




I’ve been writing diaries since I could write (I have about 35 of them hidden away! My entire life and everyone in it written down 🙂 It’s a very precious thing to save, but since leaving Sweden and after meeting my Belgian husband, I’ve been feeling slightly confused about what language to write in, so I sort of stopped… I was always very sad about that until I met a very special girl…

It’s been about a year since my friend Anna Denise taught me how to do Art journaling – THANK YOU, Anna! On her web site, she has an Art Journal 101, a tutorial, where she takes you step by step to get started for yourself.

Art journaling is a great way to express yourself artistically and I do it in my in-between projects periods, especially if I find it hard to start a new collection. Doodling with a pen, drawing special moments from my life, make colorful lists or just throwing out anger on a piece of paper, is a very efficient way to become creative if you’re in a “low face”. It is also the perfect way to learn how to draw. Or when you want to do something creative together with your kids: sitting together and drawing together is very relaxing 🙂

I was pretty bad in the beginning (I’m used to drawing clothes and stiff looking mannequins!), but little by little I figured out which colors that worked with my style, what layouts to use, and especially what we looked like – how to draw the people in my life! You can see my progress from the first ugly ones I did, to the more recent ones. I hope this little post inspired you to get started yourself? It’s really fun!








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DIY – pajama set from daddy’s old t-shirt

I never see the point of throwing away clothes. Giving them away- that’s different; if you have discarded clothes, clean and whole, which can be used by someone else, than it doesn’t make sense to cut it into pieces. If however, there is just a small hole, a stain somewhere or just a worn out fabric, then there is still so much you can do with it! 

Here is one of my favorites: a DIY pajama set from daddy’s old t-shirt! Your kid will love it- not only will he look like a mini-papa in his new pajama, but he will spend the night smelling the scent of daddy 🙂 This pajama is very easy to make, just follow me step-by-step and you’ll be done in no time. Let’s go!

– – –
 How to make it:

1. Take your kid’s jersey pants, fold them in two like on the picture and put them on the sleeve of daddy’s tee (from now on called “DT” !!) The end of the DT sleeve becomes the leg opening of the pajama pants (“PP”) and the bicep area becomes the crotch of the PP.

Draw around the folded crotch with a pen, on the sleeve of DT. Cut out. You should now have two pieces like this:

– – –

2. Now put one leg inside the other leg – right side to right side! Pin from the top edge all the way around.

3. Stitch together with a thin zig zag (normal zig zag, but decrease the width a little). You can check out my tutorial on how to sew in jersey to find out more.

4. The last step of the pants, is to fold down the top (the waist) to make a channel for the elastic band. Pin down the fold to around 3-4 cm and stitch with zig zag a presser foot width from the end. Leave an opening to insert the elastic band!

5. Attach the elastic band to the safety pin and insert it into the channel. Grab both ends and zig zag them together on the machine, securing it by sewing back and forth a couple of times. You can also tie them together, but it’s not so nice to sleep on a knot, I think … Anyway, pants are done! Let’s continue with the t-shirt.

– – –

1. The lay out of the Pajama tee (PT) will look like this on DT. The dark blue center part of DT will be the body of the PT and the side of DT will be the sleeves of the PT. Get it?

Mark out with a pen along the lines of the shoulders, the neck and the side seams of the PT.

2. For the armhole of the PT, lift carefully without moving anything else, and draw along the armhole seam of your kid’s t-shirt. Don’t cut yet!

3. Now, let’s move your kid’s t-shirt and place it like this on DT. Lift up the sleeve to draw out the sleeve head, following the seam of your kid’s t-shirt. Do the same on the other side, using the cut out sleeve as a pattern if you want. Go ahead and cut the rest.

– – –

4. Let’s do the neckline prettier … The front neck should be cut deeper than the back neck, so let’s cut down about 3 cm in the middle of the front neck, center front = CF, and mark out a nice curved line like above. Cut along the marked line, only on the front neck.
5. Now measure the total of the neckline.

6. Mark out a rectangular piece with the measurement of the neckline, width about 4 cm. Cut it out, you only need one piece.

7. Here are your pattern pieces! Let’s put it together and finish this thing.
8. Put together the body, right side to right side (check the already finished hem on DT for the right side). Stitch the shoulders together with zig zag.
9. We will put the sleeves on like above, so open the body with the right side up.

10. Pin the sleeve head on to the armhole. There is some twisting and pulling here, but start by putting together the center top of the sleeve head with the just made shoulder seam, and then move on to the end of the armhole /sleeve crown. Pin down the whole thing, the other side too and stitch it with zig zag. When you’re done it should look like below picture.

11. Side seams: Fold the sweater by the shoulder seam and pin together on the inside of the sleeve, making a curve in the armhole (match up the seams!) and continue down to the end hem of the PT. Same on the other side seam/ inside sleeve. Sew with zig zag.

12. Last thing now… The neckband. Grab the neck band, right side to right side and pin on the edge. Make the neck band to a circle by securing the end with zig zag. Just sew over the pins 1 cm in.

13. Iron the neckband wrong side to wrong side, making sure that the edges match up.

14. Pin down the neck band right side to right side on the neckline. Stitch 1 cm from the edge with zig zag. Take away the pins and iron the neckband so that it stands up over the neck line. You are done!! Well done, that was pretty easy, right?
Emil’s new pyjamas!

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DIY – potato printing

Making potato stamp has always been something I really like doing. I don’t know if it’s the memories of my extremely creative mum, baking Swedish Cinnamon Buns while we (the kids) were occupied at the table next to her, trying to cut out the coolest potato stamp! Or, maybe the only reason is that potato stamping is … simple. And easy. You can do a lot with this technique, only your imagination will be your limit. Plus, it’s great to do with kids. Although, my 2 year old always ends up eating the raw potatoes …
You will need: a big potato and a sharp knife. Plus some color depending on your project.



How to do it:

Grab a raw potato. Cut it in half with a sharp knife. Draw out some sort of image/shape. Cut around your shape, making the stamp about 7 mm high. Use an old lid from a glass jar, fill it with paint of your choice (fabric paint is good for t-shirts, normal acrylic or maybe even water color is fine for paper printing.) Stamp straight into the lid for a rough print or use a fine brush to make the print “cleaner”, like with the above tea towels. Go crazy and start printing! Have fun, it’s VERY addictive 😛


Ideas of things you can print and print on:

– Black triangels on a white towel for the dishes.

– A simple heart on a girl’s tank top.

– Flowers on napkins or table cloths.

– Shapes on the spine of paper storage holders.

– Geometric shapes on journals and sketch books.

– Something pretty on a canvas bag.