Cheapskate Makes Cute Mugs

What do you do when you walk around the shops looking for awesome mugs, and there are either a. none fun available and b. the semi-fun ones are more expensive than you are willing to pay.

You buy cheap plain ones, grab the glass and porcelain pen that you bought years ago for this purpose and start drawing! No, first you browse the entirety of pinterest only to find that you suck at drawing and that rules out the first ideas you had (this, can’t draw symmetrically, this, can’t draw tails, this, can’t draw cats, this, can’t draw the lines in proportion or this, mug has the wrong shape). I was smart enough to try these ideas on paper before committing to my mugs. In the end I found this page via pinterest and I decided that I would actually be able to draw those. Especially since it doesn’t matter too much if the legs of your zebra are a little to wide etc.

All animals have their butts towards the handle, and they are split up in groups that are semi logical together. Semi because I didn’t think about it beforehand and just started drawing. The first one has an elephant, antilope and zebra (African plains). The second one has a bizon, a bear and a raindeer (Nordic (ish?)). The third one has a rabbit, an armadillo and a fox (Small and cute). The fourth and last one has a giraffe, a camel and a rhino (Africa-ish again?). So without further ado:

Mug backs

Mug fronts

Mug sides

I think they are super cute and they even go together, magical! Once they go in the oven they should also be dishwasher safe. Even if I don’t have a dishwasher (yet). I liked this project and I now also have enough cups to have a teaparty for four!

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Christmas Ornament

Yes, I am aware of the fact that it is August, I haven’t skipped four months in my head. What I am aware of, though, is that fact that making things takes time. If you want to have a nice Christmas tree full of hand-made ornaments, it’s better to start in time right!

So what did I make? I knit a ball, in a yarn that varies between light silver and black, that’s why the colours aren’t even in the pictures. It’s supposed to be put in the tree, but it’s a little overly large I’m afraid. It’s bigger than my hand..

Ornament Ornament comparison

So for the next one I’m going to adapt the pattern to make it a little (lot) smaller. You’re supposed to knit it on 4 needles, but I’m incapable of doing that. I also don’t have four small needles anyway. So I decided to use a needle for knitting in the round, and this worked just as well. Started with 12 stitches in provisional cast on and in the middle it was 64 stitches, knit on 4.5mm needles. The next one will be more black, as that’s where the yarn’s at now.

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Cycle Top

On Thursdays the market square is home to numerous stands with all kinds of different things, from cheese to fruit, from leather to bicycle stuff and from post-card crafting to fabric. You understand that I like the fabric stands best. There’s one that always sells coupons, cuts of about 1.5-2.0 meter in all kinds of different fabrics for between 3 and 10 euros a piece. A while ago I got home laden down with five of those pieces. One of these was a very light weight something, dark blue with white cyclists and walking people on them.

Close up

As it’s been almost continually raining for the past five or so days, it clearly was time to make myself the light weight summer top I’ve been dreaming of since the heatwave. I cut it out last night, loosely cutting around a blue knit shirt I made some time ago. Folded over the neckline twice, folded over the sleeve hems twice and stitched those. Then I French seamed the remaining bits and lastly I cut a semi-high-low-hem and folded that over twice and stitched as the hem. Yes, I am wearing my pyjama bottoms in the pictures. No, I have no shame.

Front Back

The fabric was an absolute pain in the bottom to cut out as it was shifty as hell. I figured this out before when I tried cutting out a shirt from an actual pattern. I first spray starched the entire cloth, and now understand why one shouldn’t use it on floors as I currently slip and slide all across my living room… Sadly I was an idiot, and didn’t check twice before I cut, so that shirt is currently balled up with a front that is too short for me too wear. I will probably just attach a band along the front to solve the problem, but that’s for a later time. Especially as this fabric is also a hellion to sew, as things keep shifting. I needed something with the fewest pieces possible to keep my sanity yesterday and it worked! Now off to see if I also like wearing it.

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High-High Waisted Pants

As I mentioned before, I made pants! I made, what I consider to be the prettiest pants I’ve ever made. Sadly, not everyone agrees with me and apparently I look like a hillbilly. I will be ignoring the nay-sayers and continue to wear my fancy pants.

Anyway, these were fashioned after a free pattern. The pattern is called the Helena Culottes by Ralph Pink and can be found here. The pattern looks to be shortish pants, but when I made a muslin they already reached the halfway mark of my calves. I decided I wasn’t going to wear long pants anyway, so I added one A4 to the bottom and decided that that should be long enough to wear. It turned out that I was right!

Front Back

The pants were made from a red thin wool fabric. It feels like I’m wearing pyjamas that hug me the entire day. It’s wonderful. I especially like the side view. The second picture is the front, with three covered buttons on the front. These buttons are just decoration, they are not functional. In the original pattern, the flap wasn’t supposed to have the fold over that my version has, but I’m too short waisted apparently for the original pattern.

Side Front

The amount of closures is quite large. The first layer is a waist stay to keep the pants up (the beige thing). There are also zip ties in the darts for a bit of stiffening. The waist stay has two sets of hook and eyes. The next layer is the zipper that closes the pants, and te hock and eye at the top of the zipper. The last layer is the snaps. There are two large snaps attached to the waistband and eight small ones to keep the flap flat. There are also two pockets in the front and two double welt pockets in the back. The welt pockets only took 3 times each side, I was staying up too late to work on those. However, they did work out wonderful, I’m also not scared of making them anymore.

Closures Pocket

In my opinion, pants don’t usually fit me this well, so I’m planning on adapting this pattern to become a multitude of different things. I’m going to try to make ‘normal’-waisted pants, a playsuit and maybe a swimsuit? But that’s all future talk. First I’m going to try to finish a long sweater, a scarf and a shirt with little vintage people on it. Wish me luck!

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Interrobangs and Cats

A while ago, I was browsing the internet (and pinterest) looking for interesting earring inspiration. I found a few pins that I really liked, namely this one, this one and this one. And some others, what the heck, here’s my entire board of crafty things. Anyway, a friend of mine had her birthday a while ago and I still wanted to give her a small present. So I delved into the fimo stash and produced ‘inspired’ by earrings from the three pins above.

Let’s start with interrobang. The interrobang is a symbol used to ask a question in an exited manner, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or to end a rhetorical question. It was a marketing idea in the sixties and never really took hold (Wikipedia), but I for one love both the name (BANG!) and the idea it expresses. Nowadays, the interrobang still isn’t used, but we do use the two symbols the interrobang is composed of separately. Say what‽ or She’s pregnant?! (Again Wikipedia). I came across the name at some point in the past when I was reading a post about (potentially) useful punctuation marks. That might also be where I learned that the &-symbol is called an ampersand. Which is information I actually regularly use in my day-to-day life.

So, I didn’t make the interrobang, I just really wanted to talk about it. I did make earrings with a loose ? and !, one for each ear. Black & Metal, a good combination right? I deviated from the original by putting the pin through the question mark completely. I actually like this maybe better? Anyway, here they are:

 Bang! Hanging Bang!

The second was an adaptation from the other two pins, one for each ear. So one dangling cat, and one graceful jumping cat. Well, my cat faces aren’t nearly as nice as the inspiration, but I still quite like them. The friend did say they were heavy, so we’ll see if they work out. It was mainly for fun anyway. So the pictures you’ll see will have a plastic cookie box in them. My ears aren’t pierced and I couldn’t find anything that would work well to show they were supposed to look, so a pierced cookie box it was.

Front Side-ish

 Side Butts

I also need to improve on cat faces and I still want to try the biting shark, and maybe mix it with a surfboard or something. For now though, I liked the results and I think my friend was somewhat interested in them. I had to wait until I’d given them to my friend before I could post them, you understand. On a different note, now I can already tell you that my next installment will be about the pants I finished yesterday and test-wore today. Very high waisted, woolen red pants. I love them.

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Blue Stripes

In my opinion, there is no such thing as owning too many t-shirts (or sweaters for that matter). I have started to accumulate quite a bit of stretchy fabric that I think deserves to be made up into something. So the other night I decided that it was imperative that I trace by beloved t-shirt pattern, copied from an old shirt, onto something sturdier. I bought some wrapping paper that’s not as flimsy as my normal tissue paper and traced all the pieces onto it. I even cut out the two sleeves separately, as that should help with fabric usage and pattern placement.

I also attempted to scoop out the front armscyes a little. In order to test whether that adjustment had the intended result, I needed to make another t-shirt. I looked around through my box of knits and discovered a white, light blue and dark blue striped fabric that seemed perfect for the attempt. What I like most about striped fabric, is that you can aim at something to make it look good.

V neck Side seam

You can cut out neck binding, such that the stripe is nicely centered. When sewing side seams, you can try to match up the stripes as best as possible and that makes it look nicer. I think my attempt was pretty decent. I’m not sure if the arm adjustment worked fantastically, but the shirt still looks pretty good (in my opinion), so I’m happy with my pattern.

Shirt front Shirt back

For this project, I also used a new to me technique/item. A stretch twin needle, to sew the hems and neckline. I think it looks really nice and if my aim is right, which sadly it isn’t always, the double line of stitching perfectly frames the blue stripe, see below. I think a need a bit more practice with this needle and hopefully I’ll be able to make nice stretch items with nice stretch hems from now on.

Twin needle hem

On to the next project!

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Changing Times

Sometimes you find something online that you really really like. You wonder if you should buy it or not. So you ask the seller the question that’s haunting you, but receive no reply. What do you guys do?

I decided to create something that would give me a similar vibe, but from scratch. This was my inspiration picture:

Dawanda shop "My old Watch", click the picture for the listing

DaWanda shop “My old Watch”, click the picture for the listing

I really liked this item. The leaves, the thickness of the belt, the vintage-y look, but there was one potential snag. How would it close? The reason this is important for me, is that the last time I bought a watch online, the band was both too long and almost too short at the same time. It was one of those studded wrap watches that wind around your wrist three times. Well, with three times I had so much band left over that it was still studded, so no holes yet. So I decided to have holes added at the end and then I could wear it, but wrapped four times. Depending on the day, this can be just that little bit too tight. So if the watch didn’t have the possibility of having extra holes made to fit my chicken wrists, it wouldn’t work for me.

In the end I purchased six separate watch faces from another DaWanda shop. I bought some leather, a clasp and rivets from a local haberdashery shop. I wanted to be able to change the watch faces depending on my fancy of that day, this would mean that the face wouldn’t be attached completely.

I ended up cutting a 14 cm by 2.5 cm strip of leather and rounding of the edges. Second bit was a ~20 cm by 0.8 cm strip of leather.
I made a hole in the thin strip to thread the clasp through, the leather was then doubled at one end. I made a hole in the double end and another in the thicker strip and riveted them together. I then added supports using a rivet on either side under which the thin strip could pass to keep the watch face in place. I added the watch face for that day and attached a small oak leave pendant using a jump ring. This is the result:

Watch Watch

On the left, you can just about see the supports  for the thin strip to pass under. Because of the design of this specific watch face, these supports are adequate to keep the face in place. For the next iteration of this design I will place the supports closer to the actual watch face. You can just about see the rivet underneath the end on the right picture. To get an even better idea, you can see it laid out below, with the alternative watch faces. The top right one doesn’t fit in this design, so I’ll have to think of another method for that one.

Watches

I think I found a new hobby. I like cutting out leather with sharp tools and using my hammer to whack things. Now I just await the new smaller rivets that are coming my way and create a similar design to this. Maybe I’ll use the wrong side of the leather for some added contrast or such. I might also round of the support edges to make it a little cuter. Use a different colour leather. Add another pendant.. So many possibilities!

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