Tuesday, 26 March 2013

some little boxes

Last week I finally had an idea for what to make with some wrapping paper I bought a long time ago that has been sitting on my desk. Little boxes! I love little boxes. These were constructed with thick paper, covered with the forget-me-not wrapping paper and stabilised with thick matting board.

I put eyelets in and added a little ribbon as a pull.

the finished box

which is a drawer. I got a bit lazy after making two and noticed that two cadbury tin boxes I have fit perfectly. The outside bit of the drawers I made out of a box we got as a gift box for Christmas. I only needed to turn the lid into a side, add some prop-ups to hold up the middle bit and glue some sides down.

I've noticed while writing that explaining the process isn't as easy as just doing it! So hope at least the pictures inspire you to make one too. I have one of those wooden small set of drawers and wanted to get another, but now didn't have to buy one, plus its a lot nicer!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

painted easter eggs

Its finally officially spring, so time to take down the paper snowflakes and hang up the easter eggs, even though there is still snow on the roof.

 Martin's grandmother painted these beautiful eggs. This is three views of the same egg. Don't you love the little bear family?

This week's spoonflower contest is painted eggs. I took a picture of each egg and arranged them into a scattered repeating design to print on cloth.

You can see all the other entries and vote in the contest here if you want :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

more macarons

A few weeks ago I wrote about the macarons I tried from the french bakery around the corner. They were so good that I wanted to make some myself. I used this recipe, and like it promises, if you follow the recipe exactly it will work! (Although I have to add that I eye-balled 36 grams, as my scale isn't digital, so it might have been 38 or 39 grams, but that should be encouraging rather than discouraging, if you want to try the recipe. Also, it only made half the amount of macarons, for some reason.)

I didn't add any food-colouring, which I will do next time. It was a lot of work, but not too hard. Basically its very important to sieve and sieve until the almonds are very fine. I put them in the blender, sieved, blended, sieved, and in the end threw away about 2 tablespoons that I couldn't get fine enough. Another helpful tip is to draw circles on the baking paper sheet to make it easier to make each macaron the same size.

For the filling I made a ganache and tried two flavours, using capuccino chocolate and white chocolate (1 part chocolate to 1 part cream, heat the cream, add the chocolate and stir until melted, let cool and then whip) :

I still have a few in the fridge, so if you want to try one, come for coffee!

Friday, 15 March 2013

inkscape snowflake tutorial

A few months ago I created a snowflake design for a contest on spoonflower. I had lots of fun making the snowflakes with inkscape. Here's a tutorial for how to do it. Three important shortcuts: Ctrl+L simplifies the path, Ctrl+D duplicates a selected object, Ctrl+G groups selected objects.

1. draw a six-sided polygon with the "create stars and polygons" tool.
2. draw three lines and group them, this will be a guide for making the snowflake. (you can delete the polygon now if you want)
3. with the pencil tool draw a shape, any shape works! experiment with the effect of different shapes.

4. the shape will be quite rough, so clean up the lines by clicking Ctrl+L a number of times until the line is smooth.
5. duplicate (Ctrl+D) and mirror the object (V and H for vertical and horizontal mirroring), using the lines as a guide.
6. group (Ctrl+G) the two objects.

7. duplicate this object, mirror again,
8. and place it opposite, again using the lines as a guide.
9. now fill the shape with colour and delete the black outline. Group again

10. now comes the fun bit: duplicate and rotate (it should rotate around the centre, so no need to move it). Do this twice, using the lines as a guide. Delete the guide lines and your snowflake is done!
11. you can play around with opacity to get different effects.

You can use the same shape starting out in a different position to make another snowflake, or draw another shape. Try different levels of opacity and different sizes and colours. This is what I came up with, a repeating pattern for printing on cloth:

ps. here's a similar tutorial that inspired me by Byteweiser

Update: This pattern is now available for sale on gift wrap, wallpaper and fabric in my shop!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

coffee steam

I love the steam from freshly brewed coffee in the sun. It changes so quickly and creates such beautiful swirls and twirls.

And here's a coffee postcard. To show how a blurry banana tree in the background can add some tropical warmth to a sombre day.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

finished sweater

Last week we had the first promise of spring - flowers coming up everywhere and leaves coming out, all within a day or two. Today it's been snowing again, so maybe its okay to post about a woolen winter sweater.

I finally finished this sweater last week. I started it in 2003 or 4, I'm not quite sure. I was visiting my grandmother and like so often we were talking about making things. I had never knit anything big before but wanted to try to knit a sweater. Well, she had wool, from a knit dress her sister had made that she had unravelled, and she washed it and rolled it into balls for me. A pattern? You don't need one, just measure and make it up yourself! So I did, I wanted a V-neck, not too loose sweater with long sleeves. And after 10 years its finally done. 

My mother just sent me this picture of the two of us knitting (I'm working on snorri here). Its interesting to see how we hold the needles. I learned knitting from my mother who learned it from her mother. And when she taught me I remember that it was the dutch way of knitting, as opposed to the way my canadian family knits.

Monday, 4 March 2013


I had macarons for the first time a few weeks ago. From the French bakery around the corner. I was surprised at how good they taste! For some reason I always assumed they were dry and crunchy, but they're not, they're chewy and delicious. These were filled with a coffee cream.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

how to clip a design with inkscape

I use inkscape a lot, either for drawing figures for my thesis, or for designing fabric. Last year my brother taught me how to clip an image and in this tutorial I want to show you how I used that function in one of my designs.

This was a design for one of the weekly contests at spoonflower with the theme Australian animals. I started by sketching a number of different animals, scanning the sketches, cleaning up the lines and converting them to paths. Then I drew the eucalyptus leaves and pods, duplicated and arranged them until I had enough to fill the area of the animals. This tutorial shows how I clip the eucalyptus leaves into the shape of the kookaburra.

1. The kookaburra needs to be a path (I used the Path->Trace to bitmat function to convert it into a path), make sure the image you are clipping is big enough to fill the shape of the kookaburra. I moved the leaves and pods around a bit to make sure I included smaller parts like toes and the beak. 

2. Place the outline over the image and select both. Then comes the fun bit: Object->Clip->Set.

3. The path disappears and the image is clipped to the shape of the path.

4. I added a background colour (again, clipping the grey colour with the outline of the kookaburra)

5. The finished design!