Crafty Tuesday: Busy with balcony transformation


Nothing too crafty today but rather a home decor project. As I have already done some very basic sewing for our balcony in 2011 I feel I can sort it under Crafty Tuesday.

Curtain shelfCurtain table

We are living in a flat and the balcony faces the soccer pitch of a small local club – which makes for some loud and amusing entertainment on weekends. About two weeks ago I decided that its current looks is not very inducive to relaxation so I am in the process of transforming it into a wellness heaven (well, sort of).

This is its state during a preliminary cleaning (with a little helper):

Balcony cleaning

My plan of action (already set in motion):

  • Buy plants and pots at the garden center
  • Order a bamboo rug for the stone floor on ebay
  • Buy a couple more cushions for the chairs at IKEA
  • Find a triangle pillow for the floor to lounge and read on
  • Buy large pillows for the floor at IKEA
  • Get prayer flags as decoration on ebay
  • At my swap site I discovered a couple of cute bottle holders that you can loop around the railing.

I will keep you posted over the next few weeks. Once everything gets here my balcony will be ready for summer. Can’t wait!

Do you have a balcony, patio or garden? Show me some pictures, please!


Crafty Tuesday: Woolly hat recycle


Everybody who reads this blog knows that I am a sewing newbie and pretty much suck at it. Mainly because I lack patience and if I start a project I don’t want to spend hours measuring, adjusting, ironing, cutting, pinning and what not before I can sit down and actually SEW.

That reminds me, did you know you can enroll in a free quilting class over at Craftsy called The craftsy block of the month? I did enroll, just for the heck of it, we will see what happens.

Anyway, two days ago I found this great idea and tutorial (shows how much of a newbie I am, I NEEDED that tutorial) to create a woolly hat out of an old sweater at Make it and love it. So I rummaged in the “for the thrift store” basket and found this old but still nice baby sweater and went down to work. It turned out a bit wonky but cutting and sewing that knitted thick material is rather tricky, I found out. The little “Tiger” label was already on the sweater so I had no embellishment work to do either. Convenient, cute and cheap!


Have you done anything crafty lately? Let me know, I am always looking for inspiration.


Sweat Shop Paris by Martena Duss & Sissi Holleis


The Sweat Shop Book brings the namesake Paris Sweat Shop founded by Martena Duss and Sissi Holleis to North America with more than 50 DIY fashion and home projects, including instructions and more than 200 helpful, inspiring full-color photographs. The first "café couture" sewing shop in Paris, the Sweat Shop was named to highlight the questionable nature in which store-bought clothing is sometimes made. Instead of rewarding dubious labor practices, the Sweat Shop and The Sweat Shop Book inspire crafters to make something unique with their own sweat equity and creativity.


In a nutshell:

I liked it:     No, but that is me and my lack of skill.

For people who are advanced seamstresses, have an extravagant style.

My thoughts: 

I feel inadequate to talk about this book.

Apart from maybe two projects all the patterns in “The Sweat Shop Paris” are not for beginners, so I am not really the person to judge whether they are explained well or not. All projects are accompanied by a number of illustrations and a photograph of the finished piece. They range from a tote bag to a twisted hoodie to flapper trousers to a sweater and many, many more.

As for the style, it was not mine. While all projects looked very professional they were just not my taste at all and I wouldn’t be interested in recreating any one of them, even if I was able to.

I am sure that for the experienced seamstress with an unusual, very individual taste that matches the one in the book, it will be a treasure trove. Unfortunately I am neither the former nor do I have the latter and don’t belong to the target group.

Product info and buy link :

Title Sweat Shop Paris: Lessons from a sewing café
Author Martena Duss & Sissi Holleis
Publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN 978-1449408404
I got this book from netgalley
More info Sweat Shop Pairs website
Buy link Buy Sweat Shop Paris: Lessons from a Sewing Cafe


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


Sew up a home makeover by Lexie Barnes


Want to bring a new look to a tired room without spending a fortune? Designer Lexie Barnes shows you how to personalize your living space in just a few hours, with 50 fresh, fun, pattern-free sewing projects.  Transform a living room with a custom-designed slipcover and coordinated pillows. Redecorate a bedroom in a weekend by sewing up a headboard cover, a lampshade, and matching window treatments. Learn how easy and inexpensive it can be to change the look of a child’s room as she grows from a baby to a kid to a teenager.  With dramatic before-and-after examples, beautifully styled photography, and a fun “you-can-do-it” attitude, Sew Up a Home Makeover is a creative resource that you’ll return to every time you’re ready for a new look.

In a nutshell:

I liked it:  x Yes       No

For people who like: to sew and like easy projects. Especially if they are sewing newbies.

My thoughts: 

As a complete sewing newbie I totally loved this book. I have to admit that I haven’t re-created any of the projects, but I am pretty optimistic that it wouldn’t be a problem to do so with the given instruction.

I liked how the book was structured and the overall look. The photos were gorgeous and made you want to go out and buy more fabric right and re-do the complete home away.

The book starts with three chapters introducing the reader to the basics of sewing (very important for the beginners). They deal with the six principles of decorating and making over your home, fabrics & tools (like for example what should be in your sewing kit) and tips & techniques (various types of stitches, stitch jargon etc.).

The there follow four makeover challenges, each sub–divided into rooms or occasions and again into various projects. Just to give you a few examples:

  • Room: La Vida Lively – Project: Stretched Canvas Art
  • Room: Sweet Dream Bedroom – Project: Upholstered Headboard
  • Occasion: Tea for Two – Project: Unlined Napkins
  • Room: Pee Wee Playhouse – Project: Marshmallow Cushion
  • Room: Craft Atelier – Project: Utilitarian Table Cover

There are many, many more…and they all look absolutely stunning. Each project gives you an exact list of needed supplies, the finished size of Ms. Barnes’ project (the size of a lot of them depend on the size of your furniture or needs) and very clear instructions with easy to understand illustrations.

I got this book from netgalley as an e-book and could only read it on the PC, but I am considering getting the print edition so I can take a closer look and so that I have the instructions right in front of me.

Product info and buy link :

Title Sew up a home makeover
Author Lexie Barnes
Publisher Storey Publishing, LLC
ISBN 978-1603427975
Buy link Buy Sew Up a Home Makeover
(available from Sept. 24)

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear other opinions.


Needlework Tuesday: Book covers

My wrap still hasn’t made much progress. So today I am showing you another one of my beginners’ sewing projects. As book lover I thought it might be a nice idea to have a look around for tutorials how to create a book cover – and found there are a LOT of them on the net.

Some of my book blog readers might be really surprised about me looking for book covers given the way I treat my books, but there you have it!

I decided to try out a tutorial for book covers by Mamas Kram, as it was in German and looked easy enough – even to me. In my usual fashion I messed it up somewhat and made the inside pockets to narrow, but it still works ok.

buchhuelle1 buchhuelle2

It worked so well that I created a cover for my e-reader from the same fabric. And to think I spent quite a bit of money on an e-reader cover on Etsy some time ago! Won’t happen again.


As far as creativity goes my week was unproductive otherwise. I had to go to the hospital three times within the last 8 days with the boys for one reason or other ( it always happens in the evenings or at night, doesn’t it), so my time to do anything else has been more than scarce.

Join us for Needlework Tuesday which is hosted by Heather from Books and Quilts. She has posted her progress on various projects and shows us the additional prizes for her fun Sushi sock contest.


Needlework Tuesday: Balcony curtains

I’m afraid there is no big progress on my crocheted wrap, at least nothing worth showing. But I have finished another very small project, which is still quite a big thing for me.

I am a total sewing newbie, my sewing machine and I don’t particularly like each other and every time I want to sew something it is a fight. I thought I’d start with something really easy, rectangular and extremely uncomplicated. I made a couple of curtains for our balcony shelves. I have had those scraps of fabric from IKEA for ages and never did anything with them.

So, now I improved the looks of our balcony tremendously in about 30 minutes and I am rather pleased with myself. Matching tablecloth to come.

curtain1 curtain2

Join us for Needlework Tuesday which is hosted by Heather from Books and Quilts. She has made some progress on her mystery quilt. Marie at Daisy’s Book Journal is explaining about cross crochet, something I had never heard of before.


Bag organizer

Some time ago I realized there were all sorts of organizers for handbags out there. A great idea, I never find things in my purse, possibly because I carry half my household around. There are organizers you just lift out and put in, like a bag in a bag, or organizers that are long and roll up, so you can adapt them to any bag size.

Instead of just buying one I asked my friend Lilach whether she would consider making me one and then even maybe offer them in her Etsy shop as well. So, to make a long story short, she agreed and created the most wonderful organizer for me. It is sturdy, has tons of small compartments for all sorts of items, comes with a key ring and just looks awesome all around.


I snagged this picture from Lilach since it shows the organizer so well.

And here it is in action in one of my handbags.


Thanks, Lilach, you did a great job! I love my new organizer.