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anja sew-and-so

This site is about crafting and other things for the soul.

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FOR THE SOUL

* This Blog is now on Holiday *

Hi there,

thanks for popping by again. I am going on holiday today so won’t be able to write any crafty posts at the moment.

In the meantime, here are a few things I might get up to …

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XMAS Mania

Is anyone else really excited about Christmas already??

I can’t help but be really happy about autumn being here. It promises snuggly evenings and a lot of crafting on the weekends because I’m planning to make everything I gift this Christmas myself. My game plan is all written out and I’ve got some lovely projects lined up! I’ll probably end up writing about most of them so if any of my friends actually read this blog, they’ll probably see their present here sooner or later 😀 but they’ll have to keep guessing what they’ll actually get, harharhar.

Last year I started with paper snowflakes just like I had when I was younger. It was just something that you could do immediately with supplies you already had at home. It also totally transported me back to my childhood, the pre-Christmas excitement, the build up to a family holiday that is much more ordinary than you imagine it the entire time coming up to it. I always get most excited about the wonderful things you’re allowed to eat and drink without guilt (traditional German goose roast, cheese and crackers, Christmas pudding with Brandy butter; another time I’ll have a duck roast, ginger bread and port; sherry!). My mouth is watering.

Anyway for these sweet paper snowflakes, all you need is some A4 paper and a pair of scissors. Of course you could use any colour paper but if you want to make snowflakes white is probably your best bet. Unless you use cream, or light yellow (but don’t eat yellow snow!).

And this is HOW YOU * Craft Them Yourself *

Fold the shorter side of the A4 sheet over to the longer side. Cut along the edge to create a square. Fold the triangle in half again to create quarters, then fold again to create eighths. Now you can start cutting into the edges, making sure that you leave parts of them standing because otherwise the whole thing falls apart 🙂 You can literally create ANY design you can think off in minutes because all you’re doing is cut an 1/8 of the snowflake but it replicates on all other parts once you unfold it. And this is how they could look like:

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I also made one of these wonderful paper stars. You can follow this video to make one yourself. This took a little longer than expected but the result is stunning. I still have this boxed up somewhere so hopefully it’s still intact.

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Anyway, if you’re not into Christmas yet come back to the blog when you are because it’s gonna get all Christmassy up in herrrre from now on 😀

Hope to see you again soon and see your Christmassy creations xx

If you ever get the chance – GO! What a beautiful land…

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Embroidery // My first ever piece.

Hi all,

I recently went to a brilliant little workshop run by Emma from Harper & Finch and she showed us all basic embroidery stitches. Needless (it’s got ‘needle’ in it!) to say that I got hooked! I’m actually pretty broke right now and can’t afford to buy new fabrics for sewing, so this is the perfect obsession in the meantime. I’ve got all the fabrics and threads I could ever want already from when I was hooked on cross stitch…

I went home after the workshop and found this lovely image online which was just so fitting. I had to stitch it.

Because I get bored easily I tried some satin stitch for one of the roses and a chain stitch for some of the thicker lines. In hindsight, I should’ve used more strands of the thread to cover the pinkish iron on marks better (I used 2 strands). My thinking was that the design was quite intricate at times and I wanted to be able to show more detail… Maybe the marks will ‘wear off’ over time or get bleached by the sun but I’ve almost grown to like them. After all, this is my first attempt and I’ll love it just for that 🙂

So I embroidered it (sounds so grown up!) – and this is what it looks like:

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IMG_9908(#showusyourbackside 😉 #messybuthey)

When I can muster some courage I might try and fill in the scissors with water colour to make them more visible. But that’s for another time.

In the meantime I HAD to embroider something on the beautiful Liberty fabric from my cushion post. Could you resist?

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(Meow.)

Crafting is teaching me 

  • Patience

I am NOT a patient person. Anyone who knows me will tell you once I have an idea I need to realise it, like 10 minutes ago. But sewing requires detailed planning and thinking through. Although I hardly make notes my brain starts whizzing as soon as a conscious idea forms and I realise it can be done. I’m very grateful for being able to visualise an idea quite well before I’m doing it. However that also means that my brain is always 1 or 2 steps ahead. That gets exhausting, especially if you’re also trying to deal with the present simultaneously. So this is where sewing teaches me patience. It teaches my brain to calm the f down until I get to that step. I already know what I’m gonna be doing next so stop obsessing over it!

I reckon it also teaches my boyfriend patience. He’s learning to wait for me to be done with my madness… I feel a bit bad but it’s not really anything I can control atm. That’s something I’m still trying to learn. One step at a time, ey …?!

  • Less is more

I’m always one for embellishing, improving, just-one-more-thing-ing and crafting teaches me that less is more sometimes. Does that bias binding really have to be pink? Or lacey? Or do you really need a trim on that? That frill is kinda weird on that bag, nah? 

Crafting is a time to experiment and yes, some frill here and there never hurt anyone, but if you spent too much time a day on one particular thing – it might drive you a bit mad, and yes, that frill looks weird on that bag. Take it off, right now. Back to basics.

  • Appreciation of social interaction 

This might seem like a weird one but hear me out. Crafting can be lonesome and I don’t mean it badly. I love it to sink my teeth into an idea, get my head down and not reappear until the vision is realised. I forget to drink, eat and sometimes sleep when this happens (thanks for that btw, I miss my bed). Luckily I work in an office where I have to see people 5 days a week. And I really cherish that time now, more than before. I’m still a pretty grumpy b* sometimes, pardon my French, but I don’t really mean it. I probably think about my next project while trying to be ‘present’ (#pretencious) with the folk at work. This is quite a challenge. And I’m working on it. 

(I’m kind of a ‘good things come in threes’ kinda girl so I’ll think of another three things that crafting teaches me another time.)

A Balance in Life

Most of us have a crazy hectic lifestyle compared to 10 years ago. Constantly being ‘plugged into’ technology, chasing to catch up with the ever-lasting being bombarded by emails (personal or work-related), always feeling that we’re late for something, anything, everything, rushing to get there.

Get where?

When I was working on finding back to myself, getting more into crafting, I realised that ‘there’ was neither here nor ‘there’. We all know what ‘there’ is for each of us, maybe a place where we can afford that all-inclusive-holiday next year, maybe it’s somewhere we won’t smoke anymore or a place where you’ve become irreplaceable at work. But that place is a sort of construct of our mind, isn’t it? Because even if we reach our goal, there will always be something else that’ll make us “happier” or “more fulfilled”. Maybe next time it’s that newest smartphone, or the nice car or the full-body skirt or [insert your thing here] (bad consumerism, bad). We never arrive ‘there’, and therefore we will never be “happier” or “more fulfilled”, we’ll keep chasing after ‘it’. I’m really bad for doing that. And I’d rather not, really.

So crafting has become a way of trying to go back to basics for me. Learn new skills, zone into the old-fashioned way of doing things, unplugging from the constant noise a little bit. (I still have an office job, staring at a screen all day, so no thank you to TV. Let’s get the books out or craft with an audio book on – they are the best!)

Getting this office job was such a relief financially. From student to 18k+ felt like hitting the jackpot and I started ‘treating myself’, I still do this now and I’d like to stop! I’d like to save some money (for a house, for a holiday, for an unexpected bill?) but I keep thinking I’m not saving for anything tangible. What’s the point in saving if you can’t see what for? I enjoy spending the money I work for, you know, the money I drag myself out of bed for every morning (I’m not a morning person). I have a few friends who are just not into that kind of materialism, and I must admit I envy them for being able to not give in to that/ live without the urge to buy, buy, buy.

In a way crafting hasn’t helped with THAT at all, because of the supplies and pretty fabrics and gadgety tools you can buy to make your life ‘easier’…

OK, what am I trying to say? This went off course a little bit.

I’m trying to get over this materialistic habit because I KNOW that ‘stuff’ isn’t going to be the thing that makes me “happier” or “more fulfilled”. I’m striving to achieve a good balance in life, a good level of going with the (technological) flow while trying to unplug in the right situations, a healthy relationship with my (fleeting) money, slowly. It’s a process, ok??

Any tips here? I could use some help :S xx

I thought I’d start posting some gorgeous pictures. I’ve taken lots over the years and with the help of certain apps some of them are just so striking. Enjoy my current favourites right now 🙂

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