living handmade

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Counting down to Christmas

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My kids are obviously pretty exited for Christmas, so last year, I made a textile calendar (an embroidery) with a little Christmas train each for them, with the wagons filled with wrapped up candy. This year however, I’m planning to do the calendar Zero Waste Style instead: I’m replacing the presents with experiences! Small things to do written on strips of paper. They get to pick one every day and we’ll do what it says. For example:

– Sushi train in Brussels

– Dancing party in the living room

– Crafting with mama

– Cinema with papa

– Take the train somewhere

– Build lego

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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.

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DIY- Cardboard marionette theatre

It’s Kerstmasvakantie and we’re making things as usual. This week we’ve been working on a Puppet Theatre, Marionette style! The idea is to hang the actors in threads from the top of the theatre, where we’ve left a hole (knowing my daughter right now, I’m guessing princesses, dragons and horses… ). As we live in Brussels, I wanted to make something in Art Nouveau style, so the theatre will be painted in yellow, blue and pink pastels, with a heavy curtain in deep red, hanging on a pole, just under the roof. 

How to do it: 

As you can see, we used a pretty big cardboard box, sort of moving box size, taped the edges and folds together, glued them down with a glue gun, left a hole up in the “roof” (for the actors) and drew out the details in pencil. When we were happy, I cut it out!

I cut the stage opening pretty deep, close to the floor (or the table, where it will most likely be played), but I saved 2 cm to be able to lay down a sturdy wood plate, which we will paint in black to make the theatre real. I saved the curtain cut out for fake stage trees. We will glue them to the wall and the actors can change behind them and wait for their turn.

At the back I will add an opening where we can hang paintings of several scenarios, a castle, a forest, a lake, a room… The puppet master can then change between scenarios. Right now we’re entering a magic forest…

Tous en scène!