Saturday, February 26, 2011

Precious things/2 Teddy bear

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This teddy bear was a mourning gift from Mr. C. Today, six years ago our first kitty Norbert died. I was devastated. This teddy was of great comfort to me during the mourning period. His name is Mr. Scrumpy.

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Even though Mr. Scrumpy is now quite old and scrumpy looking (hence the name), I'll never part with him.

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This is a photo of Norbert. Forgive the lousy resolution, this one was taken by an ancient camera (before digital technology was readily available).

Update: I also forgot to mention that teddy was made in Sweden and is partially filled with barley. (I'm trying to support high quality plushies)

The purpose of this post series is to show you some of the things that surround me. This isn't about bragging in the sense of: look how many pretty expensive things I have. All of these items are important to me out of various reasons. What they all have in common is that they have come to define me and my life in some significant way. In the end it's all about the story. And I love a good story.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A new necklace

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I love multi strand necklaces or alternately opera length single strand necklaces I can stack for high impact.

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This is a three strand asymmetric necklace,which basically means that the strands are not evenly distanced from one another.
It's a fairly easy, repetitive design but very time consuming and labour intensive. I used quartz chips, blue glass, pink resin pearls and some metal filigree beads.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Precious things/1 Ferdi

I thought it fitting to begin this post series with an item that changed my life, my sewing machine. Meet Ferdi:

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Ferdi (of course I named my machine, what else did you expect) is a basic model Elna sewing machine. It was a gift from Mr. C who took a tremendous leap of faith in buying it, because to that point I had never used a sewing machine in my life. Though Mr. C was a bit wary at first, the purchase really payed off because I now sew most of my wardrobe. He's now the first one to complement me to anyone who'll listen.

This is a photo of me sewing at my desk in our previous apartment.

Ferdi is a very basic machine and has some limitations: too thick or too flimsy materials are a challenge. Buttonholes on sturdier materials are a no go. But all in all this a very versatile machine and it's perfect for a beginner or as a basic household sewing machine for hemming pants, curtains, etc.

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At this point I have no need for a better machine, because I'm still a beginner/intermediate level seamstress. As my skills advance I will of course purchase a better machine but for now I'm sticking with Ferdi.

The purpose of this post series is to show you some of the things that surround me. This isn't about bragging in the sense of: look how many pretty expensive things I have. All of these items are important to me out of various reasons. What they all have in common is that they have come to define me and my life in some significant way. In the end it's all about the story. And I love a good story.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My handwriting (meme)

This is an interesting exercise I found via Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen, just the kind of fun thing to participate in on a lazy Sunday's afternoon.

Here goes:
1. What's your name/your blogger name?
2. What's your blog's name/URL?
3. Write "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
4. Favorite quote?
5. Your Favorite song?
6. Your favorite band/singers?
7. Anything else you want to say?
8. Tag three to five other people.

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I apologize for shody resolution. If you klick on the picks you'll get a better view.

The best body scrub

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Besides making my own clothes and jewellery I also occasionally tinker with cosmetic. Over the past few years I've become very wary of what I put on my body as much as what I put in it.
I've discarded all 'beauty product' laden with chemicals and am no longer swayed by glossy adds and cute containers of lotions, emulsion or whatever emitting synthetic aromas. I find those quite pungent.
The beauty of this body scrub is that it's so easy to make and you're likely to have all the ingredients in your pantry at all time.

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What you'll need:
  • about 5 to 6 heaping table spoons of salt;
  • half of a lemon;
  • 1 to 1,5 tablespoons of body oil, any kind of oil is good (baby oil, almond oil,...) If you don't have body oil just use regular olive oil.
Put the salt in a container, I prefer a plastic one because it can't break. Squeeze the lemon juice and add the oil. Stir well. If the mixture is to dry, add a little water.
Use immediately and discard any leftovers.

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A few notes of warning:
  • never use it on your face or sensitive body areas
  • never use it on damaged skin or open wounds
if your skin is very dry or sensitive I suggest the following:
  • instead of salt try using oats, polenta or bulgur (Grains are supposed to be very beneficent to dry skin and you may even add them to your bath. Just fill a sachet full of oats and discard afterward.)
  • instead of lemon juice grate a medium apple and either use only the juice or add the grated apple into the mixture.

If you decide to try it out, I'd be very interested to hear about your experience. Also, if you have any of your own favourite homemade cosmetic please feel free to share.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Put down the phone and drive

This is a reminder to all the people who fail to comprehend the dangers of texting/talking on the cell phone while driving:

Image via: Une femme d'un certain age.
I wish you all a happy Saturday and safe driving!

What to do?

When you're bored and have a couple of hours to spare? Make a cool outfit for you pet of course!
All you need is:
1. A pattern, this one is from The Queen Bee herself, I'm referring to Martha Stewart of course.
2. Some leftover polar fleece
3. A kitty (or a pooch)
4. Some thread, scissors and a sewing machine

First fitting:

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And a few hours later....

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Doesn't he look like a feline superhero?

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Not too happy though ;-)

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Although he does wear it at my mum's who lives in a house where it's considerable chillier than our warm apartment. The whole reason why I made this fleece for Rufus was because he'd get so cold at my mum's he'd hide under the blanket and not come out for hours.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today I covet...

Dear readers I am smitten!
Have you ever randomly come across an item that, for lack of other words, was so you? Embodying your style and reflecting your personality? Within your price range?

Meet the latest addition to my closet:

These Fiorucci shoes are so me it's beyond words. Funky, whimsical, and more. All for the price of 62 €.
This is one of those instances when the fashion fairies really outdid themselves: the last pair in my size from YOOX and they're currently offering free delivery service.
I will of course post an update when they arrive. Here's hoping they're as gorgeous in the flesh as they are in the photo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's day revisited

This is my V day present:

16. 02. 2011 b

The biggest helium balloon the store had! And yes I have a huge obsession with helium balloons. I blame this entirely on a traumatic experience from my childhood when a playground bully snatched my balloon and let it loose out of sheer spite. I guess I never got over it ;-)

But seriously helium balloons make me smile. And this is just the perfect present and Mr. C's fail safe gift for me. And I don't mean that in a bad way.
As I've said already I'm not really a fan of Valentine's day mostly because of the pressure to buy wildly expensive things.
And since flowers aren't really an option, because Rufus eats them (I kid you not!) this is just perfect and it will last longer than a bouquet of flowers.

DIY and leftovers/1 Pencil skirt with a twist

No matter what your choice of hobby is, one thing is inevitable: leftovers. If you do however have a leftover free hobby, do please share, might be just the thing for me.
Leftovers used to drive me crazy, yes I have a slight OCD and a penchant for neatness, I believe it's inherent to all Virgos.
Now I'm coping quite well, I'm at a point where I accept leftovers as a necessary byproduct of every endeavour. But I'm still struggling what to do with them: toss them, keep them, separate from other items...
When it comes to fabric leftovers I only keep the bigger more regularly shaped pieces and I keep them in a special box.

I made this skirt about a month ago using a rather plain dark wash stretch denim that was just begging for some embellishment.

So I dug out a nice piece of pink Chinese brocade and used it on the godet  pattern piece. I also made some bias tape and used it for piping.

The front view:

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The back view:

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I also used matching thread and made a flat felled seam on the back:

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The godet piece was lined with leftover lining from a coat:

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I'd be interested to hear about your techniquies in dealing with leftovers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I've made beads!

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As far as jewellery making is concerned I've always bought my beads and it never occurred to me to make them myself. I recently got inspired by Heidi from Ex Post Facto Jewelry who made her own bead caps and I decided to to give bead making a go.
I've had these crystals for at least two years. They were a gift from a a very kind man who runs a jewellery store. I didn't really know what to use them for so I stored them in my bead box thinking they will come in handy someday.

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So I bought some polymer clay and decided to just make some ordinary round beads and embellish them with the crystals from my stash.
It's really not difficult and I found this project thoroughly enjoyable. Notice the 'fancy' tools I'm using: an ordinary knife and some toothpicks. It so easy to work with this polymer clay. It feels like play-doh and it's extremely soft.

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This is the slightly less easy part of the process, inserting the crystals. It's very time consuming, it took me about 8 hours total to make two baking trays of beads.

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Here are the blue beads all finished and ready for baking.

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So what do you think? I'm pretty satisfied for a first try.

Amazon will ship just about anything

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and for a small fee you can even get your items giftwrapped ;-)

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's day!

To all who celebrate it. This Holiday is relatively new here in Slovenia and I'm not particularly fond of imported holidays like Valentine's or Halloween's. I'd much prefer we as a people would follow our old traditional holidays, for we celebrate Mardi Gras to fend off winter and evil spirits and we do have a lovely ancient holiday St. George's day on 12th March to celebrate love and loved ones. It is referred to as the day when all the birds find their mates.

But alas Valentine's is vastly more popular and more marketable, it is as much a holiday for the merchants as it is for the people who (blindly) follow their marketing manipulations.
If you do plan to get your loved ones a Valentine's day present, don't buy the obligatory red rose or something equally predictable. Instead try and find something meaningful and personal. And it needn't be expensive either!
I usually prepare my boyfriend's favourite meal and bake something preferably with oodles of chocolate.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Am I allowed to whine now?

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At least a little bit?

I have kept my dire health issues off my blog until now. I guess putting it into writing makes it more real somehow.
For the past five weeks I've been struggling with various cold related illnesses.
It all started with the worst case of stomach flu I've ever had. After a week it completely crashed my immune system and a flood of bacteria came storming in.
Boom! I come down with cold and a pretty nasty throat infection. I got antibiotics which cured my throat. But these buggers are sneaky, they've moved on to my ears.
For those of you who've never had a middle ear infection let me tell you: it's the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life! The first time it happened I was hoping it would be the last time as well. I'm also practically deaf on my infected right ear and the pain killers don't work either.
I decided to keep a positive attitude. I ate all my pills, drank gallons of tea, doused my nose with saline, nose drops and whatnot.
So last Thursday I went to the doctor for a checkup. This young doctor was really sweet and funny (I'm assuming he works with children a lot). He humorously remarked that the state of my ear was similar to that of a public restroom which made me laugh. Then his face got serious and he escorted me into another examination room (never a good thing). A whole bunch of doctors gathered around me and they were all looking inside my ear mumbling to each other.
Diagnosis: I have a punctured ear drum. They have no idea what caused it but are pretty sure it's healing itself. Yeah that put me right at ease!
Well I'm still trying to stay positive but I am scared of the possibility of permanent damages to my hearing.

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These photos were taken last Saturday when I managed to go for a short walk with Mr. C who had to practically carry me up the three flights of stairs afterwards. Because of this illness I'm so weak that a perfectly normal thing like a trip to the doctor or a simple little walk feels more like a pilgrimage.

Today I covet

The Mojito shoe

These incredible shoes designed by a British architect Julian Hakes are more of an art piece to put on display rather than wearable shoes.

These have however caused an instant buzz on the internet and the designer has been busy trying to come up with a version suitable for mass production.
So I expect to see them in Sex and the City 3 :-P

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My obsessions with...eyewear

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I've had to wear prescription glasses since I was 10 years old and it was pure torture. Wearing glasses in elementary school or high school gave me an instant admission to the nerd group. In those days the selection of eyewear was poor and kind of dorky.
So I started wearing contacts very early but I wore my glasses on weekends and at home to give my eyes a little break. I swore to myself that one day when I had enough money I'd get myself a ridiculous amount of cool glasses.
So last November it finally came true, I bought myself 3 new pairs, two prescription and one new pair of sunglasses.

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From left to right:
Calvin Klein turqoise sunglasses (new), Exte sunglasses (old), Armani, Dior, Oliver (my not old, but ancient glasses).
People might say I'm a snob because I bought all designer glasses. I don't care. Not only do designer glasses fit better, they're made of better materials making them long lasting. And most importantly the lenses are of superior quality which makes all the difference.

I buy my books from

Here is a little known fact. When you decide to write a bachelor thesis on a relatively obscure subject like The criminal law of the early medieval Anglo - Saxon England you will find two things invaluable: a good knowledge of English, since the majority of texts are obviously written in English and a great on-line book store.
My absolute favourite is The Book Depository. Not only do they have a large selection of book titles, but they offer a free worldwide delivery service. I was over the moon! I bought this book:

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It was delivered in about 10 days and it came with a complementary bookmark. All in all I saved about 35€ by not buying this one on Amazon, not only due to free delivery but because the same book cost about 10€ more on Amazon.

And then there is Abe Books. This is a site that specialises in selling old, used books as well as rare and out of print books. This is a true Aladdin cave of book treasures. Yes the books are used, but the seller vouches for the books being in the conditions as described on the web page.
I bought these two books from them and with shipping included I paid a little under 12€.

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It's so weird buying a book that costs only 63p, yes that's how much I paid for each one of the books. The delivery took a little over two weeks which is acceptable and the books were in great condition no torn pages and no scribbles anywhere.

Disclaimer: This post is not endorsed by anyone, it's my honest opinion as a consumer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A cat's life

08. 02. 2011

Real hard, ain't it?!
(In case you were wondering: the water bottle IS filled with hot water!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My obsession with...tin cans

I love tin cans. I can't explain it but they're so cute and for some reason I can't get enough of them. For a long time I didn't even realize I collect tin cans. That's until I noticed that I have a tin can for everything. They're just such a cute efficient storage solution. I use tin cans to store my hair clips, sewing needles, tea and spices, candles,...

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My favourite would probably be the washing machine tin can. Isn't this a great way to store your detergent or soap nuts?

Renovating: the bedroom

I've already shown you the before photos of our bedroom, so here are the after photos.

This is a view from the entrance hall, notice the large vinyl tree sticker? Because this wall is very long we knew we had to put some decorations on it otherwise it would look empty. I decided against hanging pictures as the passage between the bed and the wall is too narrow and I'm afraid we'd just knock them off the wall or at least scrape the paint job bumping into paintings.
This lavender tree was the perfect solution. It's large enough to cover the entire wall and the motif is interesting enough so we won't get tired of it too quickly.
In the far end of the room is the second sitting bag and if you enlarge the photo you'll see Rufus in his little sleeping basket from the same material.

our bedroom 1

Our bed. Wanna guess which side is mine? Not particularly difficult (hint: Mr. C doesn't really care for pink or teddy bears)!
In order to really really get the maximum out of the space available without overcrowding the room we opted for a bedroom with closet space above the bed as well.
It's a real gem this bedroom of ours. We actually bought this bedroom furniture for one of our previous (rented) apartments and we love it so much because it's really super functional. When we decided to buy an apartment one of the conditions was the it had to fit in (oh the countless arguments we had with real estate agents)! But when you know deep down something is really working out for you you shouldn't compromise.

our bedroom 2

Our library/storage shelves for DVDs and documents. It still not quite finished as we have to go to my parents who are kind enough to have stored our books.

library nook

My favourite space in the bedroom is this nook that's just the right size to house our huge corner closet and a chest of drawers.

chest of drawers and jewellery nook

Above this chest we have a mirror and a display for my bijoux. I have wanted a jewellery board for sooo long, with the amount of jewellery I have it became a necessity (kind of obvious since jewellery making is a hobby of mine)!

jewellery board

We made this board ourselves and it was ridiculously easy and cheap: we went to our local hardware store to have a wooden board cut to a desired dimension and then to our local fabric store for some fabric and foam. Two ours later it was already hanging on the wall. What I really like about it is that the board can be easily taken off the wall and the fabric can be removed as well in case I need to wash it or maybe change it.

Here are a few more pictures of our tree. It's very difficult to get a proper photo with a regular camera lens, it's just to big to fit into the frame:

putting up the tree sticker 1

putting up the tree sticker 2

putting up the tree sticker 3

putting up the tree sticker 4