Friday, December 30, 2011

Grandma's mittens

Grandma got a pair of mittens for christmas, too. She wanted useful things, and this should work, I hope. The pattern is, again, the same as the photographer's mittens, this time without any finger holes or flaps or anything. I couldn't resist doing a tiny little snowflake pattern in duplicate stitch, even though I really didn't have time. It could have been nicer, time permitting, but they'll have to do.
-Clean and simple! My grandma is a teeny tiny woman, so they are too small for me to model. You'll have to settle for these boring pictures, but you get the point. ;) The details are, as usual, on my Ravelry page.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kleks shawlette

Some time before christmas I was fishing for hints on what I might knit for my mother for christmas. The information I gathered was: a shawl in a neutral colour, not too big, and it should be able to double as a scarf. So I went hunting on Ravelry and came up with one shawl after another, each recipe more detailed than the next. And then along came Kleks. :) I knew instantly that this clean and simple design would be perfect.
-The shawl isn't very big, but then neither is the recipient... It measures ca 55 cm from the neck down including the point), but a full 140 cm from end to end - the original recipe yields a semi-circle, but I've adjusted it to make a more stretched-out shape. This shape makes it suitable for both a displayed shawl and a rolled-up scarf version. (Also, please excuse these blurry photos. Daylight is sparse, even during the day. Oh where is the sun hiding?)
-Now, this design is simple, but curious. The lace sections are actually inside out - what you're seeing is the reverse side of a stitch pattern I've seen referred to as the raspberry stitch. I really like how this creates a striking contrast between the smooth stockinette sections and the rough, knobbly lace sections. The image above is the best I can do in trying to show you the effect. It's one of those details that provides that little extra kick to a simple design, elevating it over the rest.
On the other hand, the pattern has major flaws. There are mistakes that clearly came during its translation from Polish to English, as well as other inaccuracies, especially concerning increasing the stitch count. Even with the helpful tips from other Ravelry users, I haven't been able to achieve a clean line with the perfect amount of increases. I'd think twice about doing this shawl again, even though I like the general design.
-The edge has several points, each center point has a bead. Wow, what a relief to block an entire shawl using only 40 or so pins, instead of the 250-300 I've used on the last few projects! :)
-The technique I used to elongate the shawl gives some dramatic effects at the corners. When the shawl is worn, this part hangs in pretty folds.
Details are on my Ravelry page as usual.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mommy's mittens

Time to start revealing some christmas gifts, now that the recipients have torn away the paper and hopefully enjoyed what they found. :) First out is this pair of mittens I made for my cousin. She's a mommy to two little ones and I hope this will be a practical thing to have around this winter. Now, she can fold the flaps back and to fiddly little things like retying shoelaces and so on, and then just pop the fingers back in to keep them warm.
-They started out being based on my photographer's mittens, but instead of a hole for the index fingers I made a flap that covers the four finger group. It might not look like it, but the flap was knitted first and the "inner tube" picked up from live stitches (palm side) and knitted into purl bumps (back of the hand) afterwards. The result isn't too bad! There are probably some great recipes for this flap thing out there, but I was in the swing of things and just winged it. Details on my Ravelry page as usual.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry christmas to all and to all a good night

Just stopping by to wish you all a joyful christmas celebration!
May your days be merry and bright. :)
In the following days, I'll post my handmade gifts here on this little blog. Today I'm just showing you how I've wrapped most of the gifts this year. The old-fashioned, rustic way! Well, my version of it anyway. ;) I have to admit I like giving the wrapping some attention. Somehow, it makes me feel that every gift is special - that the giving itself matters, not just the contents of the gift.
I've used ordinary kraft wrapping paper, kraft and red stripe paper, christmas themed washi tape, and kraft tags with inked edges and a piece of washi tape, all tied together with black and white baker's twine made from paper. It may look much, but it's actually mostly really cheap materials so I have no guilty feelings about it.
My mom is probably going to ask where's the gold, because that's her quintessential ingredient of christmas decoration... So for one of her gifts, I've stamped the kraft wrapping paper with two snowflake designs in white ink, sprayed gold Glimmermist on top, and used white and gold paper raffia ribbon to tie it. You can see the ingredients of her wrapping in the picture. ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Breezy baby blanket

If you're looking for a quick knit baby blanket, I highly recommend this one. It knits up really fast - although you'll have a fair amount of ends to weave in after all those colour changes. Choose a yarn that looks good on its own and doesn't split, or all those dropped yarnovers will look cheap and weak. I went for the always wonderful DROPS Merino Extra Fine, while the original recipe uses a brilliant one that's spun from one thick and one thin strand. This isn't your thick and super warm winter blanket. As the name suggests, it's not only a quick knit, but also a light and airy blanket more suited for slightly warmer days, or for inside use.
It's been ages since I finished this blanket and it's still lying in my closet waiting for a recipient... So I decided it was high time to blog it anyway. I've been wanting to take better photos of it, but I've had seven months to do it and it seems clear that's not going to happen, so here it is! It's not really blocked, but I did soak it and let it dry flat and it did even out the shape a bit. I started and ended with a white section, and did a row (or two?) of single crochets around the edge for better definintion and finished look. More details on my Ravelry page.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The world of imagination is boundless

For the longest time, I was adamant on sticking to Norwegian sentiment stamps... But lately, I've given in to temptation and bought a whole heap of English ones. I just couldn't resist! They are sooo wonderful. There's so much more to choose from too, especially in the cool/grungy/quirky genres. On my last shopping spree at Scrapmagasinet and Bikuben along with my partner in crime Kristin, I came home with way too many of them. The only problem is, I have trouble selling them, so I'll have to keep them for my own friends, I guess.
That pattern paper, can you see it's supposed to be books in a bookshelf? It comes from Basic Grey's Oxford pad and goes perfectly with that sentiment stamp. As a dedicated bookworm, I can certainly appreciate that. :)
-I usually keep the insides of my cards fairly simple, but I just wanted you to see this. One of the stamps in this set is this really really long one, much too long to fit on a 15 cm long card. I inked the first part of it and stamped it in one of the inside corners, and the rest on the back (photo below). Some Oxford paper scraps decorate the opposite side.
-"Our heart captures photos of your life, notes that create a timeless story of everyday, a journal of memories we cherish, hopes and dreams, the thoughts or secret wishes we treasure, the moments you live to embrace love. XOXO" It just so happened that there was a natural place to divide this stamp, and the longest part fits perfectly inside the 15x15 cm cards. Brilliant. :)
(That distressed typewriter font is just gorgeous, by the way.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Live the life you've imagined

This wonderful Stempelglede stamp reads something like this: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." The Alla-Prima papers are in action again, this with less emphasis on teal, more on mossy green. I love it when the same paper pad offers many possibilities. The card is for a colleague who is (reluctantly) retiring soon, and I think the quote suits such a busy and energetic woman.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New supplies

New supplies always does wonders for the creativity, don't you think? These papers are wonderfully bright and interesting. The yellow/teal combo is new to me, but deserves repeating. The papers, in case you wondered, are Alla-Prima.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

100% boy

The request for this card was a baby card that wasn't too cute, maybe something water related, and sort of cool. Well, I think this qualifies. I had at least a month to make it, but don't you think I started it near midnight before the last day?? Ah, so typical. For that reason, I was very sceptical about the possible result, but even the day after, I still like it. The paper is, as you might see, very shiny and with some sort of holographic effect - do you see the colourful shine near the charms? Let's just say that finding matching cardstock was tricky. ;)
When stamping on such glossy paper, there are few types of ink pads that do the job properly. I could have used my StazOns, but I really wanted to use white ink to keep the card on the light side. Now, white ink pads are tricky little things... Most of them are just rubbish. My good friend Kristin suggested I tried the ElzyBells ink pads and I'm so pleased to say they are excellent! I have a pigment ink pad called Sugar Candy and it has superb coverage, even on dark cardstock. I love it. In this case, however, it would have smudged badly because of the glossy paper, so the hybrid ink pad called Whipped Cream stepped in. The hybrid ink pad has ever so slightly poorer opacity and coverage, but can be used on nearly all surfaces, and as you can see from my card, does the job pretty well. Just give it a little time to dry.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Photographer's mittens

The temperatures are falling and we've just had a few nights with real frost. Last year we had already been buried in snow for weeks by the time December came around... That's what it felt like anyway. ;) It's undoubtedly more practical this year, but I'm still hoping for some snow for christmas. And on that note, I'm now well prepared for my wintertime photo safaries! I've knitted these mittens, specially designed for photographers, you'll soon see why. This flash photo shows the dramatic effect of the reflective thread I used on the back of the mittens. It's a good thing to be visible - the cold weather is, after all, usually accompanied by terribly dark afternoons...
-On the other hand, this photo shows how subtle the reflective yarn is in full sunlight. I made a little grid in Excel and just improvised the snowflake design there. Actually, I first tried holding the reflective thread along with the merino yarn when knitting the body of the mitten, but as the thread has absolutely no stretch, the tension got all wrong and the thread was hardly visible most of the time. In the end I frogged it and reproduced my design using duplicate stitches. It was easier to control the tension, but still a bit tricky. I like the results very much though!
-And here's the photographer's secret for comfortable shooting in freezing winter weather! Each mitten has holes for the thumb and index fingers so the focus ring and all the buttons can be easily worked and most of the hand still remains protected from the elements. When the camera rests for a while, just pop the fingers back in with the rest and warm them up again. I was afraid the holes would let in a lot of cold air, but with a row of single crochet stitches around the opening, they actually close up fairly well.
-Photographer's mittens in use! They are a snug fit so I have a fairly good grip despite the smooth wool. As usual, you can find the details on my Ravelry page.
Thanks for reading - and finally, a tip for anyone who intends to go photographing in cold weather: Remember to bring a plasic bag and seal your camera in it before going inside, and leave it inside the sealed bag until it has reached room temperature, to avvoid damaging condensation inside your precious camera. You might want to upload your pictures right away, but be patient! Your camera will thank you. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Surf's up!

Now this is something I've never done before: A surfing themed wedding card! Hmm. How to approach this challenge... I must admit I spent quite a while thinking about this one. In the end, I went with graphic papers representing waves and sand rather than photographic ones in order to make the card slightly more stylish. The two surfing boards are there on the suggestion by the person who has ordered the card. Well, the surfing thing can definitely be checked off the list, but what about the wedding thing? I'v included a few hearts here and there, but is it enough? I don't know... I don't quite know what to make of this card. Am I pleased or not? That depends on when you ask me - it changes all the time.
The little details here were essential in making these appear as surf boards and not tomb stones. Some tweaking was required... Several times. Another thing that helped in that regard was using my Prisma pencils to give the surf boards a sort of shaded midline, an illusion suggesting a 3D shape.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trude 30 years

It can be great to recieve requests for cards, but they always come with a certain amount of apprehension. What if they don't like it? It's one thing to give away a card for a birthday or something, but to sell it? Well. I've decided to just go with it and try to fulfil their requests as best as I can! This card draws inspiration from several cards she liked and I hope she's pleased with the result.
A few flowers and leaves are complimented by scattered flat-backed pearls in two tones. There's also some embossed and sanded Core'dinations cardstock, cheese cloth and green Glimmermist.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Simple and shiny

Told you there would be a glittered card next. ;) Nothing spectacular about the layout, so this is a card all about texture and shine. I've worked in some sharp contrasts, between the rough fibre paper and the shiny Bazzill Bling cardstock, the soft cheese cloth and the sparkling letter. These cards rarely do well when photographed, but make such strong statements in real life. Must be seen to be properly appreciated.
See? Shiny! I must have been a magpie in another life. :P The chipboard letter is painted with lilac Shimmer Paint and coated generously with lilac PearlEx. The whole card has been Glimmermisted as well, for good measure. Yummy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christening card for Kristine

Oh look at that DP... It's from Pion Design and I had dreamed about it for a while when the nicest, sweetest person just gave it to me, for no reason whatsoever, other than just being nice. She probably noticed me drooling over her folder full of paper and took action to prevent me from going berserk. Thank you, thank you. I would have made something with it immediately if only I had brought some purple cardstock. At least I had a wonderful occation where this cuteness would be perfect! My little niece was christned a couple of weeks ago and she has a LOT of purple stuff. To display as much as possible of that lovely design I kept the text frame and embellishments to the opposite corner. No name on the front, I put it on the inside instead.
The greeting is stamped on a die-cut and sanded piece of Core'dinations Whitewash, and framed by a simple arrangment of my trusted Prima flowers. I was tempted to glitter them up, but as I was making two cards for this occation I decided to have one with glitter, one without. You'll soon see the other (heavily glittered) one that I made... ;) Remember to bring your sunglasses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A prettier whiteboard

Did you know that any glass frame can be made into a whiteboard? As soon as I realised that I knew I needed one for my hallway. I usually keep a quote or word of wisdom on it, as well as jotting down things I need to remember before walking out the door in the morning. Remember to bring that card you made last night, for example. The post-it note reminder I've stuck to the door handle wasn't quite as elegant as this - and this thing isn't likely to fall off and hide under the shoe rack and cause me to forget that card anyway.
I suppose it would look even nicer if this was a lovely frame, but I wanted to make it using only materials I had on hand, so the clip frame will have to do for now. It has two layers of scrapbooking paper inside. The larger one is fairly light in colour, so my writing will show up easily. The brown and pink colours match well to other stuff in my hallway, but it's very easy to change them if I want to. Just take the frame apart and add other papers!
Made a mistake? Wipe it out! A paper towel works well if you don't want black finger tips. I've got a make-up sponge near this frame and that's also practical.
(By the way, I found the quote on Pinterest. Of course.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Invaders! From space!

Ah, the memories... Little green spaceships in vaguely bug-like shapes on a black screen. No? Just me then? Yes, I really am that old. I remember playing Space Invaders. With a joystick, even! Feel free to LOL now, I'm wearing a silly little grin myself. I'm a bit of a nerd and not afraid to admit it - although I prefer the term "intellectual badass". ;)
The idea for this card was found on Pinterest, to which I am now thoroughly addicted. I might, in fact, be in need of a "Pintervention"... It started out as an excellent tool for keeping track of tutorials, recipes and such - but has ballooned into a massive time-waster. I can go surfing other people's pins for hours if I'm not careful... It's even worse than blog surfing! :P But, as this card demonstrates, sometimes I stumble upon a great idea that actually makes it into reality. Thanks to Pinterest for the card idea!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Know this

Oops, I used the same stamp again. I can't help it, it's just so lovely! And since this card was made spesifically for a certain person, I went with the one that spoke to me the most, and this was it. Oh how I love the Penny Black sentiment stamps... *swoon*
That vertical strip of blue paper was something neat I got as a gift from this person - it's a thin blue crumpled paper with a really shiny gold coating. I ran it through the Cuttlebug with an embossing folder and sanded it. The brown papers was a nice contrast to that strong blue colour, and to lighten the card I tried to work in something white here and there.
And again, there's that gorgeous brown baker's twine! The tag was originally a dark steel/pewter colour, so I covered it with a thin layer of Gesso before distressing it with some ink, just to keep the card looking a little brighter. The cheese cloth also sneaks in again. Love that stuff!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Simple baby card

Ok, I'll admit it. I've hardly invented the wheel with this one. But you know how it is, sometimes you just go with a well-tested design and try to make the materials do the work for you! This green fiber paper was a spur of the moment purchase and now I wish I had more... It's such a lovely, bright colour and the white fibres are shiny and add so much texture.
Jute twine and the cute bear charm are the only embellishments. Keeping it simple!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vintage-y card

I almost messed this one up completely by stamping way too much, but I think I managed to save it by covering some of the stamping... It's still a bit messy, but not too bad. The lovely text stamp is by Penny Black of course. This is the first of some cards I made on a paper crafting day with a few other ladies - we had a whole day and I still only managed three (and a half) cards! Somebody obviously spent too much time talking instead of crafting. :P
Several layers of torn and inked pattern paper, some cheese cloth, and Sticky-Back Canvas are the main ingredients here. The only accents are the two metal flowers with a half-bead each, and some brown baker's twine. I love this stuff so much that if I ever come across other colours of baker's twine I'll buy them all!

Friday, September 16, 2011

For Eva and Olav

While this isn't technically a repeat of my previous card, I certainly drew inspiration from it. Quite necessary too, as this was a card I had... sort of forgotten. *ahem* And I had to whip this one in a hurry, late at night. Similar materials, slight variations in layout. The metal heart is a paperclip I painted with Gesso, wiped carefully to reveal its silver core, and sealed with a layer of Glossy Accents.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wedding card

By some miracle, my desk is now starting to appear beneath the half-meter layer of paper and stuff it's been buried under for the last months. I've still got some tidying to do, but I'm already finding a new drive to make cards. It could have something to do with the rain outside as well of course, but I'm betting the clean cleaner desk is the deciding factor here. ;) This wedding card came toghether from the odds and ends I found near the topmost layer of remaining debris (although some digging was required to find that particular Stempelglede stamp), and still works fairly well. The mat is lightly sanded yellow Core'dinations Whitewash. I went over the text in the stamp with Glossy Accents, which looks really cheezy in yhis photo, but was in fact a nice touch in reality.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Another simple 10x10 cm card. They come together quickly and make nice little cards to add to a small gift, or to send "just because". Anyway, I love making them during card making evenings with friends. ;)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby in a bag!

So, fall is coming fast around here, and little babies need something to keep them warm. This "baby bag" (does anyone have a better name for this??) is just the thing when you need to go somewhere in a hurry - just put the baby in and put her right into her car seat wearing this. I made this for my little niece and is a bit big right now, but will hopefully fit well when winter strikes for real in the new year.
I've used a recipe called "Nataschas kjørepose" from the Norwegian book "Myk Start" ("Soft Start") by May B. Langhelle. Since the "soft start" refers not only to the recipient of the knitting projects, but also the the skill level required of the knitter, the recipe is made up of many pieces knitted flat and sewn together. Now, I really don't like sewing in my knitting projects. It doesn't look good, it's usually a weak point in the construction, and it's fairly unelastic. Plus it's incredibly boring and I'm a skilled knitter by now anyway. So as you might expect, I made sure to complicate the recipe as best as I could, removing all but two seams in the process! ;) I won't bore you with the details, but the only places I couldn't avvoid sewing is where the arms meet the body. The shoulders and hood were grafted instead of sewn.
There's a neat little trick in the recipe giving you these lovely columns of stitches running along the edges. I love the look - such a great way to finish a piece of knitting! Must remember this in the future.
In order for the safety harness of the car seat to be properly fastened without removing the baby bag, there is a small hole in the back of the bag that the center strap of the harness can pass through. It's difficult to see in the picture, but it's there, just to the left of the topmost button. The strap then goes between the baby's legs and out between the buttons in the front, to meet the two shoulder straps that goes on the outside of the baby bag.
The top button is just a little bit larger than the rest. This is actually a result of having just six of the smaller buttons. This flower button just happened to be a good colour match, as well as being a perfect fit in the topmost - slightly loose - buttonhole. Talk about luck! :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Just a small card today, it measures 10 x 10 cm. It's a lovely format to work with! Perfect for card making evenings at a friend's house. I'm slowly trying to get into the card making groove again, after a long hiatus over the summer. Summer is, after all, the time for bringing knitting projects out into the sunshine, while the impending fall invites to long evenings by the desk. More to come, hopefully!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Changing mat to diaper bag!

Here's the main reason why my blog has been a little quiet this spring and summer. Talk about a project that ballooned into something much, much bigger than first expected! And after all that work, I didn't even get any decent shots of the crisply ironed thing before giving it away. When I managed to get a hold of it again, it had already been put to good use for a couple of weeks... So here it is, in all its wrinkly goodness, a changing mat that folds in on itself to become a diaper bag!
My SIL asked me very nicely if I would like to make one of these for her daughter, my first niece. How could I refuse? The only problem was, I couldn't find any recipes or detailed photos anywhere, even the great internet came up empty-handed. Say what now?? Oh well, I can't resist a good puzzle anyway. So I started designing one myself, and this is what I ended up with.

The side panels with the pockets fold in from each side - note the pockets stuffed full of tiny diapers and wet wipes...

Completely folded up, it looks like this. A little ironing accident left me with just small pieces of fabric for the closing flap, so it looks tiny on this large bag... Oops. In fact, the bag is full of these little mishaps, and my relatively poor sewing skills are evident lots of places. But it's made with love! And considering my minimal sewing experience, I'm more than happy with the result.


A little D-ring holds a couple of clasps that can hold for example a keyring and a strap with velcro attatchment for an extra pacifier, like here, or anything really. Just a little detail I thought might be nice. The middle section covered in this medium brown fabric, where the baby is actually lying, has an extra layer of batting as well as a water-proof sheet - just in case of little accidents. ;)


The two bottom pockets on either side has zippers, the other two are open. The construction of this part of the bag was truly a labour of love. I had pages and pages and pages of notes and hand drawn cross section schematics of all the layers that had to be combined at this point. The fabric and batting layers of the main section had to connect to the pocket lining and side panels, as well as the zippers and bias tape - an preferably look okay as well. Quite a tall order. Imagine my satisfaction when I found a solution to do all that in three seams! Not such an achievement for an experienced seamstress, but I took it as a great victory. :)


Before sewing in the zippers I gave them a little end piece made from the flowery fabric. A little detail, originally intended to simply prevent the zipper pull from coming off, that turned out to have the added benefit of creating a convenient, elegant and sturdy finish between the zippered pockets and the open ones. That cute lining fabric reminds me of soap bubbles - but as it had a slightly yellow tinge that crashed with the other fabrics, it had to be slightly hidden, as pocket lining.


To prevent the side panels from sagging out to the sides when the bag is closed, I attatched large snaps in the corners. They do the trick quite nicely. Due to all the layers and the frequent transitions from few layers to many, I couldn't machine sew the bias tape on from both sides as I wanted to, it looked just awful. The only solution was to rip out everything, machine sew the outside, and hand sew the bias tape on the inside. Not as sturdy, but looking much better than the first attempt.

The handles are simply sewn on to the outside of the bag. I had originally intended to make one adjustable strap, but I think deciding on two straps was the better choice. Also, you can see that I added a large ric rac ribbon under the bias tape on the outside of the bag. Unfortunately, most of it is hidden when the bag is folded, but this detail made a great difference! The flap holds the bag closed with two large snaps. And that's it really! Thanks for the order, dear SIL, I loved the challenge! But nobody can get me to make another one, haha. ;)