Thursday, 3 December 2009

Tutorial: how to make paper snowflakes!

Hello again and sorry I haven't posted for such a long time. I am sure you have all missed me immensely. :D

I entertained the thought of selling these snowflakes, but somehow I have ended up in the tangled web of computer games and abandoned my shop a little. But since it is December, finally, and Christmassy things are justified, I am going to show you how to make them. It's the way I was taught from pvery early age and I have used snowflakes as Christmas decorations ever since, one way or the other.

You will need:
Scissors - best are the longer and sharper kind, and remember to be very careful, and not to use the tips. If you have your kids making snowflakes, choose ones that are medium sized with round tips that open and close easily. It will make a difference. There won't be as many snowflakes cut in half. :D I use big Fiskars ones.
Paper - Now here's the good time to go through your paper recycling bag and find the white printer paper that is only a bit used, like printer calibrations etc. I have used old bank statements, junk mail that has printing only on one side, receipts from internet shops. (Also, I used blue tones from regular magazines etc to make Xmas cards last year.) The best kind of paper is still white printer paper, it is stiff and hard enough and relatively cheap.

The size you need your paper to be is quarter of A4. It will leave your snowflakes about 10cm in diameter. If your snowflake makers are kids, especially not very experienced ones, I would use half an A4 for practice. These bigger snowflakes can go on windows later and they will look very nice. :)

Now to make the template (and be prepared to make about hundred of them for yourself and your children, because the folding can be tricky for little hands, but cutting is sooo much fun! I used to pester my mother to fold more and more and more snowflake bases for me). :)

Take your pre-cut paper and lay it on the table. (I usually do everything up in the air, but table may be easier to start with).

Fold it in half (shorter sides together) and turn 180 degrees so that open ends are at the bottom.

Fold the left top corner over to the right corner and press down make a little fold for the middle. NB! Do not fold the entire length.

Now for the tricky bit: Judging by eye, fold the right corner down by a third. It helps a bit if you place your left thumb on the little fold you just made. (In your mind, note down a point about 5mm to the right of the bottom left corner and line the top right corner up with that point, it should be about accurate.) Don't worry if you don't get it immediately. Practice makes perfect! :) Turn over.

Now fold down the other corner (right one again), lining the corner up with the fold you just made.

Fold the whole thing in half and turn 180 degrees. That is what your snowflake template should look like. Can you see the the lines in the middle? This is where you have to cut off the top, and your snowflake template is ready!

Your snowflake should look like this. Discard the top and you are ready for the fun bit!

You can cut any design you like into your snowflake, but over the years I have found that triangles work the best - they are easy to cut, just straight lines crossing, and the result looks realistic. Edit: I also don't draw anything onto my snowflakes, I just "go with the flow", but you might want to try and draw something on for guidelines: see the photo with all my designs this year below.

I normally start with the top to give my snowflake nice pointy ends. Of course, you can cut just little lines to give it a fringe-y edge or not cut the edge at all.

The very clever bit which results sometimes in spectacular snowflakes is here: after you have cut out a triange, you can cut another triangle into the side of the one you just made!

You can also cut off the bottom tip, to make a cute little star in the middle of your snowflake.

Another double triangle...

And if we open it up... it will look like this. Maybe not the best I have made, but definitely allright.

If you wish, you can use these designs. They will end up looking like this:

Though they aren't in the right order or anything. The best bit of making a snowflake is the opening up bit! You'll never know what they're going to be like, and sometimes relatively simple-looking design can make a surprising result! :)

Happy snowfall!


P.S. I tie some thread onto my snowflakes and stick them in the ceiling with some masking tape. ;) Looks great!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Big Fish

I don't usually like advertising, but I absolutely LOVE Big Fish Games. I discovered Mystery Case Files quite a few years ago, it's perfect series for people who love puzzle and mysteries. :) Basically they are hidden object games, you move between different rooms and find objects listed on the right. The pictures are very clever, lots of different things hidden in plain sight. They have 5 games in the series now. I think I still like the second one best - Prime Suspects. If I only could combine this with the puzzles from the third and fourth ones... :)

Now though, I found another mad and very hard game: Little Things. The aim is to find a list of objects from a little cartoony drawing that is actually made up of lots of tiny things.

Try them:
Mystery Case Files: Huntsville
Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects
Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst
Mystery Case Files: Madame Fate
Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst
Little Things
NB! These links are not to direct downloads, just to the index pages of the games.


Monday, 12 October 2009

Destash and upcycled supplies - is it worth it?

I've been thinking to list some of my supplies... To destash. I have some yarns (little leftover balls as well), some plarn (yes, it is a word :) - plastic yarn), some old christmas cards, and I also have entertained the thought to sell snowflake kits - 20-30 snowflakes cut out from upcycled paper - like sheets that have had printing only on one side, plus a nice sturdy printed sheet with clear instructions how to make your own. All of these things would be somewhere around £2.50 max, with postage.

And I still have my calendar and a few card kits to finish! Waah! I need more hours in a day.



P.S. I have made some little socks, for size 4-41/2. (1-2 year old) They are made of Sirdar Fair Isle, and the colours are a bit like the sea -light blue, turquoise and mint and little black specks. Socks have always been a traditional Christmas gift in our family. But I didn't know how to knit them! Heels don't like me. So this pair is only my fourth I have ever knit. I have a feeling I want to do too much, but would it be worth it at all to list them? *is curious*

We have a big girl now. (Baby talk, not for men ;))

Yesterday we went and got a forward-facing car seat. It's for kids up to 13 years(!). We have to hope Emily doesn't break it before. :D She isn't awfully heavy yet, but she was getting too long and curious for the little baby car seat. It was wonderful to see her strapped in and looking around and being all excited when we came home.

Also, few days ago I sorted out some baby clothes to send to my sister (her baby is about a year younger than Emily, but grows like a bear, she's 4 months old and already in clothes for 6-9 months. So has Emily been. :D At least at home with all the little dungarees and trousers) and generally the shelves had been stacked to the point of bursting. After clearing out most of the things I found that most of the clothes were pink! AAAAAAAGHH! What's that all about? Me, who I promised before Emily was born that I wouldn't buy a single pink thing until she wanted some herself? There's just no escape, it seems. Oh well, I guess they aren't all things I have bought, there are some hand-me-downs and presents as well, but I love colours, and so do little children. So it seems that I have to get some Dylon. :B

And the third thing: We have been going out to the park in the last few weeks to run around and go on all the climbing frames and other things. Last week I noticed that Emily is really confident on her feet now. She doesn't stumble or fall almost at all any more. Fascinating. And she's just 17 months old now! How strange... You really don't know how wonderfully fast they learn and grow up before you have some of your own!

(Yes, I know I have been neglecting my shop a bit, but my lfe is just too interesting. I don't want to miss it, or feel guilty for not playing enough.)

Oops, gotta go! She's woken up and crying for some food!


Friday, 25 September 2009

Kittie Hat!

Yes, I have finally added the pattern. :) (The explanation is probably for idiots. :D If you can come up with something better and easier, be my guest. :)

NB. There aren't actual numbers for stitches, you will have to calculate things to match the person you are knitting to.

What you will need:
*6-7 mm needles, either circular or dpn
*Some Wendy Fusion or similar yarn (I used 156 White Pepper and a bit of 155 Cajun)
*Tapestry needle

1. Measure the head of the person the hat is for. My little girl measured 51 cm.

2. Knit a little patch with your yarn and needles, 20 st and 10 rows. Measure, how many stitches you have on 10 cm (4 in). I had 11, so that's a bit more than 1 stitch per cm (or 2,6 st per in)

3. Cast on the number of st you need - multiply the number of stitches per cm (in) with the measurements of head: 51 x 1,1 = 56,1. You can add one stitch, just for good measure. :)

4. Divide onto 4 needles (if you use dpn). Join the ends - pull the bit of yarn that hangs off from the last stitch through the first one and tie the ends together - be careful not to twist.

5. Now all you have to do is knit in the round. You don't have to mark the beginning - there should be a bit of yarn hanging off from the join. :)

6. You can try it on after about 15-20 cm, there's no need to do it before. Knit until the two opposite sides of your knitting touch each other on the top of your (or your baby's etc.) head when you try it on and the bottom edge of your hat is a)in the middle of your forehead and b)covering your skull and touching the back of your neck. The knitting should feel nice and loose around the head.

7. Fold your knitting in half, leaving the beginning on one side. Cut the yarn, about twice the length of the top end of your knitting. Now you'll need your needle. Thread it (yarn it :) and start pulling the yarn through the stitches, taking them alternately from both front and back needles. You don't have to sew, just thread through the stitches as if you would be putting beads on it.

8. When you get to the end, make a tiny little knot. Don't cut the yarn. Insert the needle back into your knitting right next to the knot and draw it out about quarter of the way back on the top. Sew an "ear" onto your hat. Make the "side" side of the ear a bit shorter than the "top" side. (See photo) Cut the yarn. Sew an ear onto the other side as well.

9. Now, if you wish, you can add a bit of pink embroidery onto the ears. Stitch is entirely your choice. I tried to imitate a knit stitch, the little "v". You also may or may not add a bit of twisted cord. If you make twisted cord, I recommend you attach it to the hat with cow hitch knot. Just don't tie a knot into and cut off the closed loopy end.

Good luck! :)



Sorry for not posting for quite a while! I should start getting ready for Christmas sales, promoting myself and all that yazz, but all my mind is on at the moment, is mittens. I joined Ravelry and have been looking around for a week now. Gorgeous. I want to make EVERYTHING!!!! :D

My favourites.

Also, I remembered making my first pair of gloves in school. It happened while we were meant to be knitting lace, like doilies and such, but I decided to knit gloves, since I found a nice pattern for the backs. It was so easy and nice to make that long before the next lesson I was up to the point where I was supposed to divide for fingers. So my mum helped me to calculate the number of stitches for them and I completed the glove that night. In the next lesson I was happily showing my glove to my teacher, and she started asking me questions about how I had finished knitting it. And then, suddenly I realised that she was thinking I had cheated - let my mum knit the glove or sth. (Yes, people did that sometimes) I am not sure whether I was disappointed that she could even think like that. Probably a bit. It's a strange thing to remember now, though.

I wonder if I ever have enough time top knit 100 pairs of Nordic mittens in a year?

*Crawls back to the den with needles and yarn*


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

More things to feed my estonian pride

I've been looking around in the net to find some interesting and nice yarns to knit things with, and especially these kind of earthly colours, browns, reds, oranges, and greens, which are especially rare here in our little shop. Like this series, which, they sadly only sell in USA and Canada. :S
Berroco Comfort And that: Berroco Vintage
Does anyone know where I could get it in UK?

But after browsing around in Ravelry, I found that quite a few people like Kauni and Evilla yarns, which, of course, are Estonian. Kauni - meaning Beautiful - is now a Danish company, but the wool is all estonian. Evilla - meaning e-wool - is based in Estonia and they sell their wool all over the world.

And now, Koigu. I've always felt that it sounds estonian. Well, Maie Landra, as you can read in quite a few places, emigrated to US after WW ii.

Nice feeling, you know. I don't think big places like UK or US even could feel such pride. You can claim the credit for almost anything, so it's just too common for you. Anyway. I might just try and buy some wool. :)


Oh, and NATURALLY, Skype is estonian. :D
And the teeny tiny spy camera? Was invented by an estonian. Honestly. ;)

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I really really really want a flute. From now on I will start saving for it. Everything I earn here will go towards it. I need about £100.

Incidentally, I've noticed a lot of sellers in Etsy being from Istanbul, Turkey recently.Well, it has been when I've checked knitted scarves and shawls, they may simply need them there and create lots and lots of cute patterns.

I've started knitting a bit again, to use up my yarns. I'll see what comes out of it. I need a bit of thin pumpkin-coloured yarn now, for a matching hat and gloves for Emily. We got her some clothes in Mothercare fashion. :D While browsing around I found some really nice series of yarns, completely manmade, but they only sell it in America! Booo! :S

Also, send your good thoughts and patience to me, because I started making some brooch/hairpins with fabric flowers and fake pearls. Let's hope I can keep it up and make a few! :P


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Tutorials: Recipe of Beetroot Soup (Borsch)

250 g minced meat - beef or pork. You can use just chopped meat as well, I am sure
1 stock cube of your choice
1,5 l of water
1 biggish carrot
1 onion
2-3 potatoes
200 g beetroot
150 g cabbage
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp vinegar
a bit of oil
1 teasp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
herbs and spices of your choice, definitely add pepper or paprika - something strong. dill and garlic won't hurt either. :)

A good dollop of soured cream/creme fraiche/greek style natural yoghurt

*Heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan or pot big enough to fit all the soup in. Brown the meat until juices run clean, and if you like well done meat, even more, until it starts slightly burn and goes dark brown on one side.
*While the meat is cooking, cut the carrot into thin slices or small cubes. It's because carrots and swedes take muck longer to cook than potatoes and cabbage. When the meat is cooked to your liking, add the carrot and also chop or cut onion to add in. (I usually just kind of half-slice the onion in my hand above the pot. It's quick. :) Cover with lid and cook until onions are slightly transparent.
*While that is happening, peel and chop your potatoes and slice cabbage. also, you could start chopping your beetroots into smallish cubes. Add water, potatoes, cabbage and stock cube to your pot and steam the beetroot on a different pan (preferably on a wide frying pan, yes) with tomato puree and vinegar. Add few scoopfuls of soup from your pot.
*When everything is nice and done, add the beetroot to your soup. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, adding salt, sugar and all your herbs and spices.

Let it stand as long as you can. Serve with soured cream/creme fraiche/greek style natural yoghurt. Believe me, it makes all the difference.

So there you are. Quite a bit of chopping, but it's nice in the end, really. :) If you live somewhere where there is russian/polish shop, then you can go and look for some real borsch as well. It's usually in 1l glass jar, you have to add water yourself, and it looks and reads kind of like this:

Look for the text. It is pronounced BOR (then the fourth symbol reads) CHTCH (though you don't really say it like this, it's just a quicker "sssh" sound; and fifth is just making it sound more palatalized, so we add J)

P.S. You can make it completely without meat, it still tastes nice. ;)


upcycle treasury!


Thursday, 3 September 2009

New things again in my shop!

I have been a bit busy lately, concentrating on my family. We had a lovely bank holiday weekend away at hubby's parents' holiday caravan near West Bay. It's a lovely place. I'll include a photo from last summer, the camp is between these two banks, and when we took a walk on Saturday we actually walked to the end of the closer bank and back. Rest for half an hour! Emily was very cute and quite well-behaved, and very interested in everything. :)

Now, a few things, most of them made last winter. Obviously, I was late. :D I didn't want to put them up to my shop in the summer, not many of them, but now that it is officially September and therefore, autumn, I've listed them. Feel free to check them out! :)

Well, here you are then! :)
These scarflettes are OOAK, well, maybe the rose one is not that much, but I am more than happy to knit more gloves and mittens, if you fancy some!


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

*falls over laughing*

If you have EVER edited photos in some photomanip program or simply seen street adverts or read magazines, then check out this. It's hilarious. I promise.


Friday, 21 August 2009

Autumn is coming.

I miss my homeland. Everything is so much more natural there. And I love going out for walks. Because I love the smells. Few days ago I went for a walk in the evening and on the corner of a house estate and a park I could smell something familiar. It was an apple tree.

Funny how smells trigger the flashes of memories. When I was pregnant I suffered really awfully from "morning sickness", which in my case was "all day sickness" for about five months. I couldn't eat anything but sweet things, like biscuits and fruit, I couldn't even look at anything fried or meaty and my hubby's preshave made me sick. The only place I could be that felt reassuring and familiar, was the bathroom. Because they smell the same, basically. A bit wet and soapy.

I miss proper colourful autumn. I don't know whether England has it - because I've spent the last two years indoors, basically. First time because I was too shy/afraid to go out and second time with a small baby. And I would like to see it this year.

I already got inspired a bit and made two shopping bags, for little people. :) I've felt so annoyed with the plastic bags in the shops, because they are so big and scrape the ground when I walk home. I found a solution. I made my own fabric bags. And now I've made a few for selling, too. All upcycled fabrics. Brown used to be a really sun-kissed curtain, which I dyed brown. Stripy and red fabrics used to be bed sheets we never used. I hand-embroidered the "nature's friend" text. It took me about 4 hours. :) Stripy one has a pocket on front and an orange flower brooch, because I felt that the red and purple stripes on the pocket missed something the bag had inside. Both are reversible.


Stripy Shopper

Nature's Friend - Autumn:


P.S. I swapped the table and the two bookshelves last week. If you could imagine the table being in the corner, full of all kinds of stuff, and the two bookcases next to each other where the table is now, you'll get the picture. ;)

Now we can actually have dinner around the table like a family. Our kitchen is tiny, only one person fits in at a time really!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Upcycle Tutorial: How to make little envelopes from used envelopes

So I finally figured out what to do with my envelopes. I made little envelopes! I wish I'd figure out what to make of plastic bags. But until then I'll help you to make your own dinky envelopes! :)

1. Start with collecting and preparing old/used/unused envelopes: rip carefully off any windows and cut open all sides. You can tear off the glued sides - it will be easier to draw the envelopes later, but don't rip the top flap off (if it was glued on). I used envelopes that had had bills, junk mail envelopes and the ones they provide with addresses on and everything, only we rarely use them, do we? So give them a new life!

2. Carefully take a small envelope apart and copy its outline onto a stronger paper - old magazine cover works a treat. Or - just download this file: envelope It's a pdf file, so you'll need Acrobat reader.

3. Sort out your envelopes. You'll need A5 sized envelopes with windows or thin envelopes without windows for the template to fit. Naturally, if you have big envelopes without windows, use them, they are the best! :D

4. Lay out your envelope, preferably on some paper, not just on hard table, white side up. Place the template on it, so that the line between top and everything else is lined up with the fold on the envelope. (Sorry for the blurry photo, but I hope you see what I mean.)

5. Draw carefully around the template. Now you should have nice envelope outlines on the paper. Repeat with all your envelopes. Cut them out. You can now recycle the leftover bits, or keep them for other projects - I used some for making tags.

6. Now, the easiest way to fold your dinky envelopes nicely and neatly is to use a ruler. Take the envelope template and place a little thin ruler on one side, edges exactly lined up with the corners. Using your preferred index finger, fold the flap down and slide up and down the ruler. That should leave you with a nice straight fold. Repeat on all sides.

7. Now you'll have something like this:

But these are just guideline folds and you'll have to reinforce them. Preferably on hard surface, fold all the flaps down one by one and slide your finger on the fold. I'm sure you'll know how to do that! :) You'll envelope will look like this:

8. Put some glue on the edges of the bottom flap, about 2/3 of the way. Stick it on top of the side flaps.

9. And there you are - your own little envelope! And since you only glued 2/3 of the sides, you can slide the tip of the top flap under the edge of the bottom flap.

Thanks for looking! If you find any mistakes or a way to make explanations easier, please tell me!


P.S. You can buy a pack of 10 of these dinky envelopes in my shop.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Gosh! I'm so tired!

I just listed a massive amount of things to my Folksy shop and I'm absolutely exhausted. Etsy will have to wait until tomorrow. :D And the tutorials...

Do check them out though!

I'll have some coffee now and watch an episode of Sailor Moon. I'm near the end now and it makes me a bit sad. :S


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Little update

Sorry for being so quiet latey... I have been busy. With real life and handicrafts, I want to make 2 tutorials, and I have been editing photos today for three hours and listening to Woodstock film. It seems that when I get to this making mode, I can't get out, I somply get more and more ideas and I want to finish them, rather than come to the computer to upload them into my shops.

A little sneak peek: (I have some that aren't photographed yet, and some that are in progress, but should be ready soon.)

Little pencil tube

Triangular pencil case - I am quite proud of it (compared to the first one I made :D)

A few little envelope envelopes - they are all packed and wait for uploading into folksy and etsy. :)

All for now! Take care!