Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pay it forward giveaway

I think most of you know the movie Pay it forward. The concept of this story is groundbreaking: kindness to strangers, pure acts of selfishness that can change the world for the better.
Last week I received a Pay it forward letter from Lori Anderson from Pretty things. A blogger, an artist but mostly an extraordinary person.

She sent me this and a lovely letter accompanying it. I thought about posting it on my front door but people in apartment building don't speak English so I decided to put it next to my desk/workspace.

And now it's my turn to do a pay it forward. I've decided to give away this lovely set of necklace and earrings in a nice neutral colour. The earrings measure approximately 6 cm and the necklace measures 47 cm. I used glass beads and silver toned chain. As with all my jewellery these pieces are one of a kind.

In order to win this set you must:
1. Post a comment on this blog entry with a valid e-mail so I can contact the winner. You don't have to become a follower or any such nonsense!
2. The comment has to be posted by Friday 1st April until 20.00 CET
3. The winner of the giveaway has to do a pay-it-forward.

Rufus and daffodils

I have a flower eating cat with a penchant for daffodils and tulips. Well to be honest, he's not that picky and will destroy any plant that comes into our home. No obstacle is to great for him. Even the kitchen table which is otherwise strictly off limits isn't safe. He'll climb on shelves, refrigerator and even manage to climb on top of kitchen cabinets.

I think we finally outsmarted him ;-) These narrow shelves we bought at Ikea just might prove to be impregnable. I hope!

And don't be fooled by that sweet innocent face.

The daffodils are courtesy of dear sweet maman from her garden.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bed jacket a la Hugh Hefner

I finally put together all the photos so I could do a post on the bed jacket I mentioned here.
The fabric for this jacket was actually a blanket I bought in Ikea for 7 €. It's such a lovely polka dot print and the fabric is extremely soft. There was enough fabric to make a double sided jacket. As a result it's now quite warm and soft on both sides. when I tried it on my cousin jokingly said I look like Hugh Hefner and the jacked was promptly dubbed The Hugh Hefner bed jacket. Truth be told it is a bit flamboyant but I love it and most importantly it serves its function: I wear it in bed when I read.
I went all out and did the piping on the collar, sleeves and pockets. I sewed a loop and strings to tie from the inside and a large snap button on the outside. I applied piping on the belt as well and made belt loops.

The belt loops can be done by machine. It's really easy. Start with a straight stitch with a very short stitch setting.

Make a nice long stitch rope.

Change the setting from straight to zig zag stitch.

Run the rope through the machine a couple of times to get the desired thickness. The rope has to be held taut to prevent it from slipping from under the needle. Alternately you could sew onto a tracing paper and simply discard the paper afterwards.

All that's left now is to cut it up and attach it to the jacket.

Ta da!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oh, I've been bad....

The last thing I need is more fabric. My closet is already full of wonderful fabric waiting to be used up. So how do I resist the temptation of buying more? Hmmm, I don't.

Last week I went into town for weekly groceries shopping. Well of course I had to pop over to my favourite, well stocked fabric store. I had a valid reson. I had run out of fusible interface and needed to buy more. While there, I of course had to have a little look around. Inevitably I found and promptly fell in love with this silky smooth lycra print fabric. It's just perfect for a maxi summer dress.

I imagine I'll make a simple cowl neck maxi dress, much like this one. Though I love the back draping on this dress it's a bit to racy for my taste.

This lovely dress can be bougt at Asos for a 'measly' sum of 446,08 €.

It's spring time

And everyone is anxious to get a piece of the action! These pictures were taken Friday afternoon. It was surprisingly warm and everyone was outside: children playing football, parents with strollers, people walking their dogs.

This delightful group of elderly men sitting on a park bench is too adorable for words. It gives me great joy to live in a town where public parks and recreation areas are still used to the full extent and haven't been overrun buy thugs spraying graffiti all over.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A wonderful day of sewing

Yesterday I had the most wonderful time. My sweet cousin came to pick me up and we went to her place to do a bit of sewing and chatting and to spend some time together. I brought along a bed jacket I've started sewing in December but never finished because of my illness.

We had such a lovely time just sewing away at a leisurely pace. We meant to make lunch, but since none of us are too keen on cooking we ordered some Thai food. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook, but given the option of sewing vs. cooking, I guess it's not really a difficult decision.

She was kind enough to give me a whole block of bees' wax that will be incredibly useful for hand sewing as well as jewellery making. I spend the better part of yesterday evening trying to figure out where to store it. I found a tinned candle and the can is perfect for storing the wax.

Friday night film selection: Love actually

I really dislike it when people try to convince me to read a certain book or watch a certain film. I can't help it, but I am instantly repelled by the said movie/book/play... So I won't tell you to watch this movie.
To call Love actually a romantic comedy is a gross understatement. Yes it's a movie about love; romantic, sweet, tragic, ridiculous, unrequited and all the subtle nuances in between. But it's mostly a great story (actually 10 stories all masterfully intertwined) about people.

Another ensemble cast. Terrific actors, I mean a movie that has both Liam Neeson and Colin Firth can't be bad. But most of all spectacular music, that has been carefully selected by the director Richard Curtis to emphasise certain scenes. I read an interview that he did once where he explains how the script for this movie was written while he was listening to some of these songs and how he was inspired by the music.
So I leave you with the opening scene of Love actually. It's just over a minute long. Do take the time to watch it. And if you like it, I can promise you one thing: the movie only gets better...and better.

Warning: Have a box of tissues at hand when watching!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today I covet...

This little beauty is from Van Cleef & Arpels. It's called Le Pont des Amoureux or The Lover's Bridge in English. I won't bother you with the technical details. I will say this, the reason I love this watch is precisely because of the supreme craftsmanship involved and the very unique nature of the mechanism. The expensive materials used (white gold and diamonds) are irrelevant in my opinion.

The lovers meet on top of the bridge twice a day at noon and midnight and kiss briefly. If you have 116.000 USD to spare, I can't imagine a more romantic present.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Renovating: the entrance

I haven't done one of these in a while. So today I'm going to show you our entrance/hall. This room (and I use the term room with reservations) was probably the most difficult space to work with. It's really small, just over 3m2 and has 4 doors: front door, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. Which in itself is a brilliant idea, to have all the rooms accessed from a single point. Things get tricky because we have all this doors in a tiny area that has to accommodate a storage for shoes, coats, gloves, hats and whatnot.
And no, this isn't the only pairs of shoes we own, the rest are stored in boxes in our cellar. Same goes for coats and jackets, the out of season ones are in the bedroom closet.

This is what we had to work with:

Obviously the raffia covering the wall had to go. And the mirror behind the bathroom door as well. Not really the best place to position a mirror, I think. And though the previous owners painted it in orange it had no effect on our colour selection. We wanted an entrance room in a bright orange from the very beginning.

The hideous green linoleum was the second obvious thing that had to be thrown out. It was so ugly I was willing to peel it off with bare hands if need be. It was replaced by a nicer mosaic print black/grey linoleum.

The sniffing inspection:

A scratch post for Rufus. The fact that he never uses it is besides the point. The little ornament was a present from a friend.

An essential piece: the concierge tray for holding keys, glasses and mobile phones. We can be ready to leave the apartment at a moment's notice, without the tedious: 'Darling, have you seen my keys?'

Gift wrapping is a form of art

I love wrapping presents. Yet another quirk of mine. But seriously, it makes me really happy when I present people with a sumptuously wrapped gift. I believe presentation to be equally important as the content.
So this is the gift my friend will receive today as a birthday present. I've already shown you the makeup bag in yesterday's post. The box also contains a few makeup trinkets.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DIY and leftovers/2 Makeup bag

I made this little makeup bag as a birthday present for a very dear friend of mine. And though technically this isn't leftover fabric, it's a project that requires less than half a metre of fabric that could easily have come from my leftover stash.
Since the makeup bag is a present, I wanted to use a special fabric so I picked some embroidered / sequined tulle and some cotton sateen.

This little bag couldn't be easier to make. I cut four rectangles cca. 20 x 15 cm. Layered the tulle on the outer two rectangles and zig zag stitched in place.

I interlined it with some leftover purple fleece. I decided to make a tiny pocket on the lining and then I sewed the lining pieces separately.
I attached the zipper to the outer pieces of the bag and sewed the edges together.

The lining was hand sewed onto the zipper. And that's it.

The finished make up bag measures approximately 18 x 12 cm and could easily serve as an evening bag as well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday night film selection: Gosford Park

A superb all star ensemble cast drama. The story is set in a 1930 country manor with a large number of guests arriving for a shooting party. This movie offers a wonderful glimpse into the privileged society of that time. The intrigue, scandal and mystery are depicted wonderfully.
All of the characters are deliciously quirky. The script is supreme, there are no words to describe it. Though this is a drama there are numerous comedic inserts in the true upper class English humour style. Maggie Smith was simply made for the role of Lady Constance Trentham. She is a true upper class snob.

As the story progresses, a murder is committed. But make no mistake, this is not a classic Christie-esque whodunit movie. The why and who of the murder aspect is completely unimportant to this story. It's the where and when that really matter. So don't expect a witty detective whose keen observational skills solve a cunning murder mystery. The real value of the movie is in watching how the characters react to the news of a murder, how does their social position come into play and a myriad of other little details.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Precious things/3 Franzi, the balcony gnome

For the record: Franzi is not a garden gnome, he's a balcony gnome. So what's the difference, you ask? Well the difference is quite simple, we don't have a garden. So Franzi resides on my balcony shelf.
He was a gift from my step father. And yes, my step dad sculpted Franzi himself! He's so incredibly talented and too modest about it. He always said it was his great wish to start making garden gnomes once he retires. He spends at least 20 hours of work on an individual gnome over a period of up to 4 weeks. He sculpts them in phases, because each layer of clay has to be completely dry before he can move on. After the gnomes are dry they go to a local ceramic factory, they are kind enough to burn the gnomes in a kiln for a small provision.
The final stage is applying colours. Oil based paint is used to protect the gnomes from the weather elements.

A cute little button detail on the back of the vest.

As for the black cat sitting in front, you guessed it! It's supposed to represent Rufus. I mean what self respecting cat person would have a catless balcony gnome?

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 road trip: going home, part deux

As I mentioned in the previous post, Mr. Coffeeaddict and I went to Celje on Sunday. I'm not Catholic or religious in any way but I somehow feel that my trips to Celje resemble a pilgrimage. For me it's a profoundly spiritual and joyous occasion to go to this lovely town where I spent almost every summer as a child at my grandmother's house.
It was different (safer) back in those days and children were allowed to play unsupervised. I would often wander off to the river bank, pick interesting shinning stones and haul them back home. My grandmother's house was right next to the river Savinja and from the balcony I could watch people walking on the town's promenade. How I found it boring!
Today I jump at the chance to go to Celje for a walk on the promenade ;-)

The following pictures are a mix of pictures we took on Sunday and pictures we took in August 2009, while we were here on vacation.

Every time I come here, there are a few spots I have to visit no matter what:

1. The river bank.

You can see the Celje Castle in the distance

Could this be the same bird?

2. Hotel Evropa. Their café is very old world, Vienna style and I love the atmosphere. The service is impeccable and you can't find the same level of service in our nation's Capital. That's saying something.

This is an old ice-cream truck, still serving its purpose in the summer garden of Hotel Evropa

We were halfway through our cakes, when I remembered to take a photo. Bad, bad blogger ;-P The cake on the left is orange creme and chocolade, the one on the right is white & black chocolade.

Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.

3. The 'star' square. Basically just a tiny square formed by an intersection of roads with a star made out of marble blocks. When I accompanied my grandmother to the market, I would always run to the star and jump in the middle. And I still do that. Yes, I'm kooky.

I leave with you a video of me being silly jumping up and down the star and laughing my butt off.