Day fifty five: Ms Poppy

The summer seems to be over, but I'm just not ready to let go. I had a tiny garden on my balcony this year featuring some pretty lush cornflowers, a few lanky poppies and a couple of 1-meter high immortelles (I had no idea they're called like this, but it certainly makes sense). The poppies didn't survive the heat well and were the first ones to wither, but just yesterday I noticed  10 tiny new sprouts in the pot ready to give it a second go. Good to know I'm not the only one who isn't prepared to give up on summer :) 
So the new addition to my linen & lace collection is dedicated to poppies - those vigorous and charming redheads brightening our days and ways throughout the summer.


Day fifty four: searching for a spark

One of those mornings when I woke up with Bruce Springsteen in my head singing "I ain't noting but tired... man, I'm just tired and bored with myself", I realised I can't go on like this. I MUST sew something or I will snap. I had just scheduled lunch with my friend Olga who had her birthday a month ago, so I couldn't resist making a little gift for her. Olga is an amazing lady blessed with lovely smile, sharp mind and courageous heart. She also was the one who introduced me to Dobet Gnahoré - a singer from Côte d'Ivoire. Olga knew her from the time she spent in Zambia and suggested I should go to her concert in Luxembourg in 2012. I did and I am still so happy and thankful for it. I remember myself crying like a baby in this concert. Dobet's music is so powerful, gentle and tough at the same time, I had this feeling of a dam being broken inside my heart and all the trapped streams were suddenly free to run wherever they pleased. She saved me from burn-out and exhaustion then. So I listened to her CD* again that very morning which started with me being "tired and bored with myself" and felt the life flowing back into my veins. Thank you :)

*One of my favourite songs from the album "Djekpa La You".


Day fifty three: picking flowers

Meanwhile, I'm still developing the linen & lace collection I mentioned before. I keep adding new colour combinations. These two come straight from the fields: a sunflower and a cornflower, both sweet and simple, yet gracious and irresistible. (Poppy is next in line, I can't wait to make that one.) Alas due to my intensive language course the photos of my recent creations keep appearing here with quite a delay. For instance, the blue&white tablet case has already been sold :) and I have even sewn another one which looks very similar, just the zipper is on the long side of the bag and the lining is different. Well. One step at a time. July is on its way :)


Day fifty two: come in, come out of the rain

When I started this blog in September 2014, I never considered a target audience and didn't spend any time scheming on some crafty marketing strategy or anything close. But sometimes things evolve the way they do and we just happen to be a part of the process. It's been a while now and judging by the traffic counter (which is not very precise though...) there are quite a few of you visiting this page from all over the world. It is fantastic, I'm very glad :) And I am also a bit curious (or virwëtzeg in Luxembourgish) and I would like to get to know you. Who are you? Where do you come form? What brought you to this little corner of the worldwide web and did you find anything you like? Talk to me in the comments section below the post or drop me a line through the Contact form on the left side of this page. It would be great to hear from you :)


Day fifty one: threads and puzzles

Oh, I love doing jigsaw puzzles. For me there is no activity as calming and meditative as this, and some say it's also beneficial for one's memory and coordination. Recently, I discovered these magnificent puzzles inspired by the paintings of a Korean artist Sung Sam Park - there is a whole series of them, all depicting beautiful sceneries. I have already done a flower market in Paris and a channel view of Venice, and I hope to get my hands on the next one soon. 
The only problem is I cannot stop until I'm done. It takes a great deal of self-control to stretch one puzzle throughout a week :) And once a puzzle is finished I usually leave it on a table for a couple of days before putting it back in the box. So... since my living room table is still covered in Venice, I really had no choice but to include it in my latest make-up bag photo shoot.


Day fifty: linen & lace

I've been toying with an idea of opening my own e-shop for some time now and I have finally decided to go for it. Yes! However, in order to open a shop one must have a stock, right? This seemed like a perfect occasion to start working on my own collection featuring linen and lace and inspired merely by nature around me. So here is a sneak preview: the very first set of zip pouches I created with this concept in mind.  
This is my walk in a forest: mosaics of million leaves, tender moss carpets, toughness of a tree bark and cheerful crackle of cones.
 The larger bag is originally designed as a tablet case, but there are plenty of applications for this format: for instance, why not keep all your tickets, maps and documents at one place while travelling? The smaller pouch is perfect for so many things: stationery, make-up, meds, money, candy... you name it.


Day fourty nine: a song for someone

Lately, I've been sewing things only for other people: either for sale and special orders or as gifts to friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I am sincerely happy to give these things away and nothing warms my heart more than seeing people using and enjoying my creations. However, at one point I realised that there is one person whom I have completely disregarded in this process even though I know that this person also could use something pretty this spring :) Right, the time has come to sew something nice for me (ME!) 
I had been meaning to make this linen tote for quite some time, the vision of green leaves were on my mind long before they appeared on the actual trees outside. So I sat down and made the tote, relishing every moment of giving a present to myself. Try this some time - it can be really rewarding.
I bring the spring tote to the language course every time: the size is perfect to hold all the books and materials. Happy :)


Day fourty eight: tree of treasures

 In case you feel like expanding your personal definition of "amazing friend", I can help you with that. An amazing friend is someone who spots a piece of fabric featuring at least five of your favourite things and gives it to you as a picnic gift :) I have this fabric for months now, but it took me a while to come up with a project idea for it. Obviously, I didn't want to ruin the beautiful tree by unnecessary cutting or crumpling, so finally I decided to make a simple canvas for my sewing corner. As for foundation of this art piece I used a ready-made canvas for painting and just pinned the fabric on with tacks (is this the right word?). Sure, it doesn't look perfect on the back, but it was an easy solution and back side doesn't really matter when it hangs on a wall. What matters to me is that I am quite happy with the final result :)
Can you guess which are my favourite things featured on this fabric?


Day fourty seven: corduroy moments

She appeared on my doorstep with a huge cardboard box in her hands. 
"I really have too much stuff," she said, "I just set aside some greens and blues for you." My sweet, sweet Irina: a trustworthy friend, an artistic soul and a fabric fairy in one person. (Cannot wait to see your new home, dear!)
Among many other gorgeous things the gift box contained the liveliest piece of corduroy I've ever seen - so soft and chummy, and bursting with colours - I simply couldn't resist it. Knowingly, I came up with a crafty plan that would let me to keep a part of this silky greenness within my reach and line of vision. I guess in other circumstances I wouldn't even consider corduroy as a cushion material, but I'm glad I gave it a try. They are so cosy, what a treat!


Day fourty six: kitchen jungle

Sometimes all it takes is one glance to know what I want to sew from a fabric. I love when that happens :) One of my precious jungle friends sent me the sweetest birthday surprise package containing an adorable jungle themed fabric. The moment I laid my eyes and hands on it I knew: an apron! This came as a surprise to me since I don't even wear aprons. Obviously, this was supposed to change :) 
Luckily, I stumbled upon this free pattern which seemed flattering and classical enough for my taste. I skipped all the fancy loops and buttons and used just the measurements and the arm hole cut. The jungle apron was quickly finished: clean and crisp, ready for a test drive. Three days and one casserole later I finally admitted the obvious: the top part of the apron was too large for me. This realisation was followed by a heartfelt internal struggle between sewing a simple dart in front (2 min job + messed up animal print) and tearing the whole thing apart to readjust the sides properly (at least an hour, but no deformed animals). Those of you who know me might be astonished to hear that I actually tried the dart option at first :D It didn't last though. I just couldn't stand the way it messed up the jungle, so I ripped up most of the seams, deepened the arm holes and adjusted the straps. There! Happy me and happy animals :)


Day fourty five: schwätz du lëtzebuergesch?

Just a couple of days after starting a language course, I spotted a grim headline asking "is Luxembourgish language doomed?" Indeed, due to the high percentage of immigrants and commuters Luxembourg has become a multicultural swarm of bees where one can easily navigate through life using other languages. And since the linguistic situation is so democratic here, foreigners often don't make the slightest effort to learn the real language of people of Luxembourg. Apparently, today Luxembourgish is spoken only by 400,000 people all over the world. So why on earth do I want to be the 400,001st? I believe that no matter how fluent somebody is in any other language, when it comes to the very soul of this country and people who keep the fire burning, it is the one language that makes the difference. Finally, I asked myself: do I want to continue navigating or would I prefer to reach out and touch the soul instead?


Day fourty four: sailing on inspirationships

I was reading a travel magazine on the plane. Can you believe someone has actually spent their time and energy to write an article on what sort of vacation photos should a person post on Facebook in order to make their friends envious? Wow. I might come off as old-fashioned, but last time I checked 'envy' was not among the words constituting my definition of friendship. Frankly, I find the concept of 'jealousy' dysfunctional and overrated in any relationship. Luckily, I've been blessed with friends who are on the same page with me. They are true and wise, strong and beautiful in so many ways. They inspire me with their hard work and fresh ideas, with their dreams and things they have created. To me friendship has never been about comparison or sense of superiority: it's all about learning, exploring, growing. It must be a two-way street. I believe that we meet our people at some point in our lives for a reason, and then all we have to decide is whether to stay in this particular point or move forward together. I've travelled miles by now, and I've never walked alone. Thank you. Paldies. Благодаря. Obrigada. Mulţumesc. Merci.


Day fourty three: hearts and strings

As my birthday celebrations got postponed for a week, I ended up hosting a cosy get-together on St.Valentine's Day. So I thought it would be great to come up with an idea for some sort of hearty decoration for our living room. However, it had to be something simple and straight-forward: like hearts on strings! I knew how to make the hearts, but I still had to figure out the stringing part. After a messy attempt to make a garland, I finally opted for individual strings and I am indeed glad I did this, because now the same hearts can be easily used to decorate a Christmas tree. How cool is that? :) 
If you would like to learn how to make them, give me a sign in  comments and I will prepare a short tutorial.


Day fourty two: till sunbeams find you

My short investigation in the local shop led to a simple conclusion: I'm not buying a single pillowcase ever again! For starters, the assortment itself is just soooo monotonous (huge sizes, plain colours, tedious trims), and even if a person (i.e. me) manages to spot an item that miraculously matches up to one's personal colour-size-frustration preferences, facing the number on the price-tag is yet another reality check. Thanks, but no thanks :) 
So instead of wasting ridiculous amount of money on things I hardly like, I went through my fabric supplies and decided to make my own pillowcases: the size I need, the fabric I love and most definitely NO trims. And just as I expected: this was one of the easiest and most pleasant sewing projects I've ever tried. Even inserting a zip for couch pillows was no trouble at all. 
Yet another item off my shopping list: what a relief :)


Day fourty one: tale of a basket

Once upon a time there was a laundry basket. It lived in a factory shop together with other baskets of various makes and sizes. Nobody could remember for sure how long it had been sitting there hoping to go to a home with actual laundry, until one day a man came into the shop together with his wife. They had arrived with a simple task in mind: to buy a laundry basket in a shop filled with baskets. However, the woman was experiencing a sudden surge of indecision and after a long while of staring and shuffling she still couldn't figure out which of the baskets she preferred. So the man took the matter in his hands and chose the one he found to be large enough and didn't mind too much. The basket was finally at home with actual laundry, but the wife kept gazing at it with great deal of suspicion. For about two years she kept wondering what it was that annoyed her so much about that poor laundry basket until one day it finally hit her: it was the awful white lining with the word "Laundry" on it. It was indeed poorly made and always slid into the basket when it was filling up. That had to go! So in no time the basket got a brand new lining made out of linen, finished with a bit of lace and comprising a string to prevent it from sliding all over the place. Once it was done, they all lived happily ever after.