living handmade

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Gold and silver garland from cake box paper

bar garland

Sometimes we have relatives coming over, and they always bring cakes. Inside the boxes they bring from the bakery are of course the creamy pastries topped with all kinds of jellied fruit, marzipan or Belgian chocolate, but it is what you find in the bottom of the box that interests me: a thick paper with one side gold, one side silver. All you need to do is: wash it up, cut small triangles and stitch them together on the sewing machine (or by hand) into this pretty little bunting!


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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Cardboard TV – why not?

cardboard TV

cardboard TV-2

cardboard TV-3

We cancelled our TV subscription a few years ago. We we’re just fed up with the constant stream of never-ending advertising and brainless TV-shows, so we stopped. Especially concerning our kids: when a movie is finished you can turn it off and do something else, but on a tv-channel, there are no breaks. Ever. We thought we would miss having a TV, but weirdly enough, we don’t. Instead of watching TV at night, we found ourselves with a lot of free time to do what we love, create. And the kids use their imagination much more.

However, we are still really in to video games and movies, so the TV stayed on for that reason. We always wanted to do something fun and creative to our old TV-set, so last week, my clever husband finally figured out what to do with it. The result is an original TV made out of cardboard, with matching cardboard speakers. I love the way it looks!

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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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My wedding invitation package

If you read my blog, you know how much I love to draw. One of my favourite things to draw and illustrate are customised wedding invitations. Above we decided to go for a Chinese theme with red lanterns and a color scheme of green and red with the party and dinner invitations secretly hidden inside a center opened pocket. If you’re interested in this very different and personal wedding invitation, you can buy my wedding invitation package (which contains your own personal “logo”, theme based illustrations and wedding couple caricatures, hand written text all over, itinerary and framed and signed originals!) Please contact me for prices and details.

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DIY – Japanese wishing tree

When I remember my life in Japan I think of romance, love, beauty, silence and calm … There is beauty to be found even in the smallest of things. In almost every shrine you can find wishing trees, which is a tree or a wooden structure where you can write a though or a wish on a piece of paper and tie it around a branch. The overall effect when hundreds of people tie rolled up paper is stunning: it looks like a blossoming cherry tree!

When we got married, we knew we wanted a tree like that, rather than the common guestbook, like with everything I show you, it was easier than easiest to make 🙂 Instead of throwing away the tree after the wedding, we keep it at home as the house-guestbook where we let our guests wish for something or write whatever they feel like. We have been trying to find a good storage for it over the years and now it’s permanently hanging tied up from the ceiling of our staircase, looking as gorgeous as ever.

– – –

You’ll need:

* a branch that looks like a tree

* a pot full of rocks (to hold the branch standing)

* silk paper (can be stored in a basket hanging from the tree)

* red pens (make the paper shift in pink-red and white when folded)

Write dreams, thoughts or wish for good luck, roll the paper flat and make a neat knot around the branch, make everyone else do it too and your tree will soon be full of pretty “leaves”.

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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!