25 Aug 2011

A visit from England

{and my dilemma}

Lovely Mum is visiting from England and I am completely spoiled with all the nice magazines she brought for me. I had a subscription for the BBC Good Food magazine but when we moved to Frankfurt in January I had to either cancel it or change the name, so I changed it over to my mum and every few months when she comes I get a lovely bundle of magazines to keep me occupied for at least a few weeks. 

Oh, I have a dilemma, and I don’t really like having dilemmas – I find it so hard having to choose between two equally appealing things…

Well my dilemma is about what event to attend on the 25th of September. On that day there is the Race for the Cure, which I would love to join. The thing is that I have signed up to run the Frankfurt marathon at the end of October. It is a team run and my part is 10K. Oh dear, what was I thinking…so I thought that if I make the Race for the Cure run, which is only 5 K it would be like a little training for the big day. I was very excited until I looked in my calendar to see that the day was already booked – can you believe it… the Dutch fabric market which happens only once or twice a year will be in Frankfurt on that day and I might have to give it a miss.

So here are a few photos of the last market and I still can't choose…

After seeing the photos I am even more uncertain.

Hope you are having a dilemma free week!

Irina xx

22 Aug 2011

Another Rainy Day

{ Another Cake - Upside Down Apple and Cinnamon Cake}

The weather surprised us a bit yesterday so instead of going to the local park we ended up staying at home, sheltering from the rain. A few apples somehow ended up in our fruit basket so I decided to make an apple cake.
Lovely Husband was very pleased and saw his way through a quarter of the cake; I however did not find the cake so appealing. It tasted much better with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Never the less it was easy to make so I guess I will try out a few different recipes to see which one works best especially as Apple time is fast approaching here in Germany.

Wishing you all a lovely week!
Irina xx

P.S. And is it just me or does the cinnamon looks like its burnt.

18 Aug 2011

A post in between


…we enjoyed the return of the summer…

…Little Daugther played ballet and got a bit silly…

…I made a little gift for a little baby girl…

…we did some butterfly painting (you try telling a three year old those are not butterflies)…

…we folded some paper boats while being asked “Is that the boat now, but is it ready?”

…was a great day!


Hope you all had a great day!

Irina xx

16 Aug 2011

Spice Rack Book Shelves

{ or kids room on a budget}

Lovely Little daughter has a lot of books and I have been looking for cute affordable storage ideas for a while, so when I saw this great idea on another blog (or ten)  I knew I must give it a go. I managed to persuade Lovely Husband to go to Ikea on Saturday (we don’t particularly enjoy going to Ikea, let alone on a Saturday morning) but some things just need to be done.

So here are said spice racks transformed into book shelves. The bottom one even has little hooks for all those little bags. And we got a little organiser which I painted and stamp labelled and now holds about one thousand Alice bands and one million hairclips. It is needless to say that both Lovely Husband and I are very pleased. 


And here are three of my favourite spice rack book shelves I found on the web:

Irina xx

Linking to

15 Aug 2011

Ladybird Fabric Toy

{unintentional taggie style}

A few days ago, I was making the ladybird toys and they were supposed to resemble the fabric boast I made earlier, hence being filled with toy stuffing. However, as I had a one month old little girl in mind when I was making this, I realised that maybe that was not so suitable for a small baby, so I skipped the last step and so the toy is not stuffed but you could do that if you prefer.

And here a few steps of how to make one ( I wouldn't dare call it a tutorial).

Prepare your pattern - use two small plates

 It should look like this.

You will need fabric for the wings, for the top and for the bottom plus a selection of matching ribbons. I decided to use felt for the tentacles but changed and made them from fabric instead. Don't forget stuffing if you are going to stuff your lady bird - sorry I forgot.

When cutting the wings do not forget to leave enough seam allowance for the middle.

 Machine stitch the wings.

Pin the wings to the narrow part of the upper body fabric.

Machine stitch and press.

Pin the ribbons to the front part of the bottom body fabric. Sew in place.

Sandwitch the wings between the top and bottom fabrics and machine stitch.

Trim with pinking shears.

Turn back to front stuff your toys with stuffing if you'd liketo make a softie and slip stitch the opening. 

Press and here is a lovely Ladybird taggie style toy.

Wishing you all a nice week!

Irina xx

12 Aug 2011

A Few Little Ideas

{  or how to prepare for a Carft Fair}

This week will be known as the week of the long posts, but I promised you a craft fair guide, so I must keep my promise. For those of you who are not attending a fair soon (no need to read) here is a little sneaky peek into tomorrows tutorial.

As some of you know last weekend I attended my first craft fair - hence still a begginer. It was fun and also a great learning experience. I researched the internet struggling to find tips of how to set up a table and what to think about, and so after the event I decided to put my findings to paper ( i.e blog), so here it is the beginners guide of:
 “How to prepare for a Craft Fair”

1.       What are you going to sell – this is the most important thing and it might take you mind from other things in the preparation process. 
  •   Make a list with all the items you would like to sell – those that are ready and those that are in the making, so you do not forget anything. If you are going to make things in the last few weeks be as realistic as possible. Make sure each item bears your label ( if you have one).
  • Make sure you have enough items to spread around your table. However do not overflow the table with staff or it will look too busy and actually be overwhelming for your customers.·        It is likely that the fair will last for the whole day ( or maybe two) – so make sure you have enough staff to sell ( yes, I know it is hard to predict your sales)
  • It is a always a good idea to make small “easy-to- make” items like key chains or fabric bracelets as people would probably like to buys something but not necessarily spend a big amount. That way you are likely to have people stop by your table, possibly buying the small things and at the same time looking at your bigger items.
  • If you are selling things for kids, it is not a bad idea to have something to catch kids attention – you can either have a large ( vintage) glass jar with lollies, or small packets of sweeties that you can give away for free ( I am always mortified when my daughter gets a lollie so I leave the choice of sweeties to you)
2.       Your display –you are likely to display your items on a table so:
  • Make sure you get a nice table cloth or a big piece of fabric which is either in a neutral colour (white or cream) or one complementing the colours of the items you’ll be selling. Some other kind of catchy decoration is always a winner as it will get the attention of the people (for example bunting, pin wheels, small flags).
  • Find out where your table will be – if next to a wall than you can benefit from this wall as it is the perfect place to display a nice banner with your label name or even some of the things on sale. Maybe you can come up with some sort of hanging display (check if you can use hooks or nails, often that is not allowed so use some sort of removable hooks). If there is no wall near next to your table than think of a nice- maybe vintage- frame where you can showcase the name of your label. Make sure it is positioned strategically so people know who you are.
  • Use items like rattan boxes, old suitcases, cupcake racks, and wooden bowls to display your items. That way your customers have much more organised stand to look at.
  • Last but not least dress yourself in a neutral colour ( you don’t want your lovely new dress to clash with the colours on your table)
2.       Other important points
  • Label your items – make sure you have nice paper labels / price tags to attach to your items. It will make them look more professional, it will display your name and you can write the price on them– people seem to like priced goods as they get bored asking for the price all the time. If you sell a key holder for example, it is a nice idea to create a small label (in Word or find some free software on the web) and attach the key holder to the label.  Also attach all labels before the fair; it will save you time and nerves.
  • Business Cards - have enough business cards and display them strategically on your table. I wouldn’t say put them everywhere but just make sure that they are visible. It will be not a good idea to run out of business cards in the middle of the fair as some potential orders may actually come after people have gone home and thought better about what they need. You can print some lovely business cards at Moo
  • Bags - think about bags. When an item has been bought it is very important that it leaves your table looking lovely. You can order bags with your label on it (quite pricey, possibly not worth at the beginning), you can buy some simple brown paper bags or you can even use brown packing paper and string to make it look like a little parcel. Also you could look up a free online tutorial of how to make some simple paper bags.  I even say white food wrap paper being used to wrap up small items. It was pulled straight out of a box (behind the table of course) and it actually was very quick and easy. As a more personal touch you can invest in some stickers saying ” Name of your label – thank you for your custom / purchase/ etc.” A choice of labels can be found on Moo or other online suppliers.
  • Box with money – start your sale with a box containing say £20 in small change. I saw some people who had boxes with little plastic cups inside containing the coins separately from the notes.
  • List of your items - a useful way of knowing exactly what you sold is to make a list of all your items and than just thick them off as they sell.
  • Tools box – have a little box containing spare labels, scissors, cello tape, cloth pegs (small and big), safety pins, some extra string and a pen. It is better to have those things and not need them, than to need them and not have them.
  • The unnecessary necessities (don’t laugh) – nail file, small mirror and a fan. You don’t want to spend the whole afternoon trying to chew off that broken nail, or be totally unaware of that little piece of salad ( the one you scoffed in five min while your friend managed your table) stuck between your teeth. Also it gets pretty warm in those big craft halls so a fan can keep you nicely cool. There is a lovely idea on Just something I made.
So I hope all of this makes sense, and once again - it is a beginner’s guide! In a few years time I might come and review this guide but for now I felt it was a good starting point.

If you think this guide could benefit from some suggestions or if I have forgotten something important, please let me know in the comments, and I will add it.

To everyone using this guide I wish a stress free preparation and a very successful Craft Fair.

Irina xx

11 Aug 2011

Ship Ahoi

{ Fabric boat for a budding captain - in no time}

I made these little fabric boats for the fair last weekend. They are absolutely easy to make and you can make one in less than an hour. I think they make a perfect gift for a little boy, and can be attached to the buggy with a plastic link, used as a mini cushion or as a rassel if you decide to put a bell inside.You can use up those little pieces of fabric which are two big to throw away, but too small to use in a bigger project.

And here is a quick tutorial of how to make a fabric boat for the little man in your house, or whip up one quickly as a last minute gift.

Start by preparing your pattern. Here is how mine looked like, but you could make it bigger or smaller . My boat is about 25cm high. Use cardboard, it is easier to draw around on the fabric. ( And NO, i have not used my precious Fiscars to cut the cardboard, they just somehow made it on the picture).

You will need five different fabrics and three or four pieces of ribbon. Cut your fabric according to your pattern and press. NOTE: make sure you apply the pattern corectly so that you get two left sails and two right sails. The first time I got 4 left sails.

Machine stitch each pair of sails together.

You should now have two triangles for the sails of each side. Press the seams open.

With right sides facing each other, pin the bottom part of the boat to the sails and machine stitch. Press and it should look like photo 5.

With right sides together, pin and machine stitch.  Do not forget to add your ribbons. See photo 7. Your boat should look like this. Now you are ready to sew.

Start sewing the boat at the bottom. Make sure you leave an opening big enough to turn the ready boat inside out and to fill it in with toy stuffing.

 Fertig ( german for ready), your boat is ready; now you just need to turn it inside out out and press it.

Stuff the boat with toy stuffing and slip stitch the opening. Now you are ready to watch the eyes of that budding captain light up with delight when presented with this little boat.
If you make this project than do come back and post a link in the comments as I would love to see it.

In the next few days I'll have a similar tutorial for a little girl.

Irina xx

This post was featured on:

featured on Completely Coastal As seen on CraftGossip.com Freubelweb