12/24/2013

Merry Mariah to all af you

Today is Christmas day in Denmark - and I thank you for checking in on my spot here most days in December - and I hope you have had some fun with the paper designs I made this year.

Last night I worked an all nighter, or almost, as one of the gifts I had planned, was a homemade book for my son. Guess when I started production? Yup, rather late last night. I was done around four o'clock. 

Now I am printing and assembling it, while sipping a cosy coffee and sniffing the occasional spurt of nose spray. With a side order of paracetamol. We are all a bit poorly, as the Brits say, but we managed to get all done, that needed to be done, and now is the time for some proper relaxation.

You do the same, all of you out there. And may peace prevail, in any way, shape or form.

Here is a little video I simply just love - the song is a classic, but this particular and very laid back version must be the best ever!





12/23/2013

Little dip dye flowers for your tree

Flowers and birds are among the classics when it comes to traditional Scandinavian tree ornaments, and the symbolism is very straightforward; we put them on the green tree to remind ourselves that spring is somewhere out there, that we must not despair in all this soggy darkness (and I am referring to the weather in Copenhagen, Denmark right now).

One of my favourite Danish christmas songs is about exactly that, and here is the last verse:

Juletræet på besøg
hilser os fra eg og bøg
med besked derude fra,
at det lysner dag for dag,
og at solen fra sit skjul
ønsker os en glæd'lig jul.

I will not attempt a lyrical translation, but just tell you that it says that the christmas tree is a kind of festive visitor from the summer forest, sending us holiday greetings from the sun.

I made you some very easy pleated paper flowers for the tree - they are made from concertina folded little paper strips, just like the Solino Stars the other day - but these are even simpler, and very easy to make. Use some sharp scissors, and some quick drying glue to fixate them in the 'flat position'.


































They are quite pastel like and summery and have a dip dye effect - and I made the PDF vith a page 1, front, and a page 2, back, so that you can get the pretty color effect on both sides of the paper. Start by printing page one, turn over your prints (make sure you place them in the right direction in the printer tray / paper feeder) - and print page two on the back.

Make them by cutting the strips out very carefully, and then make the concertina folds. I made an extra 'half' petal on the strip, use that one for glueing the strip into a little round 'lampshade'. Press it flat from both sides a couple of times, open it and add some glue to the middle edges - and press flat again. I used a little, chunky glass to hold it in place, while the glue dried. I will hang them thin white string on, to make them twirl and move!




12/22/2013

A little tree and some lame excuses

Hi everybody! Here we are suffering from some bloody inconvenient tech troubles, so the cute little paper project I was going to share and upload today, is going to have to wait. Otherwise it is a very fine day, perhaps the first sunny day in weeks, à propos the winter solstice yesterday.

Instead, I will show you my sons christmas tree, complete with polar bears and maneki-neko, and see if  we can get the wi fi or printer installation or whatever the heck the problem is, up to speed again.





12/21/2013

Welcome back sun, and welcome to a little girl

It is winter solstice today, and which day could be better to have as your first day in the world?

My little niece was born last night (so no more waiting - and an explanation for yesterdays slightly cryptic post), and I welcome both her and the sun, who will be making a comeback of sorts, every day from now on, and until midsummer! And she was not even supposed to be born now, she was a little handful of days early, but maybe she was impatient or maybe she just insisted on becoming a saggitarius!

Winter solstice is, in many ways, the real christmas day to me - a tiny glimpse of perfect balance between darkness and light, before the sun takes over again (correction: I just knew something was wrong, when I wrote this: and of course it is - I got the equinox and the solstice mixed up in my head, so not balance, of course - but just the darkest it gets!)

I want to celebrate the winter solstice with Little Sun - this wonderful piece of gadgetry, symbolism, art and innovative, charitable thinking in one yellow starburst.

































The Little Sun was invented by world famous artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen, and it is a small solar powered high quality LED-lamp, sold as a fund raising (and quite practical - 'a work of art that works in life') objet d'art in our corner of the world, and sold for a very reasonable price by local Little Sun businesses in those areas of the world where electricity is not the self evident service it is around here.

Having access to dependable, cheap (in this case practically free) lighting makes a major difference in life. It enables you to lengthen the productive hours of the day - for homework, for thinking, for socializing. It is hard for most of us to imagine the impact it has on daily routines, if you cannot even depend on a bit of light.

I spent some time in Addis Abeba myself, where power blackouts are an annoying daily phenomenon, and where cheap solar power and LED technology has meant a truly great difference to the millions of inhabitants in this vast city. 

I am neither a sociologist nor a politician, but I have no doubt that this is an example of the many little ways that simple, low tech technology can and will change the world, long term.

























I love how happy, simple and optimistically appealing this little lamp looks. You should buy one - now!

Buy it directly from the Little Sun webshop, or find lists of local retailers.

Danes can shop and support a special Little Sun Uganda charity project here

This blog has a number of american readers, and should you by chance be anywhere near Venice, Los Angeles, I have this special recommendation; buy it from the supercool Danish art gallery / design pop up shop HURRA! They also have a webshop, that carry Little Sun (and a lot of other lovely things), and I think today is their last chance for US holiday shipping. Go shop!

Last, I will link to a beautiful video, from the Sustania Award show in Copenhagen, earlier this year.
See the video here!







12/20/2013

Waiting

Today is all about waiting. For this and for that - and for a very special person. And it ain't Santa.
That is all I can say right now.

To get something done while we wait, we got ourselves a proper christmas tree.
Not quite as big as this one, but it will be just as pretty, when we get into the decorating.

Perhaps tomorrow.....


12/19/2013

Support your local designer / Butterfly hearts by Claydies

Claydies is a brilliant Danish duo of ceramists / pottery makers / multidisciplinary designers!

There are so many reasons for my admiration; to begin with they are just excellent craftswomen - but I love the way they use their design skills to both perfect their special area of expertise: pottery and ceramics - but also to take that area to interesting, experimental places (an example is their fantastic idea of working blindfolded, resulting in the dogma tableware - and how about those irresistible hairstyle bowls?).

They always seem to have an eye on pushing the boundaries of the design process itself, and do not limit themselves to one media or discipline - they explore all sorts of ideas, I imagine, and many of them result in really exquisite, humorous and clever products.

You could follow them on facebook, if you are curious and want to keep up with their work.

Not that I need any occation to praise them, but since we are dealing with a bit of a theme here, my reason for this post, is that they made a really sweet christmas design this year: Butterfly Hearts!

They are produced by hagedornhagen - and they have a webshop, where you can buy them.
You buy a sheet with eight different butterflies (seen in image 2) and cut and weave them yourself. 

I love the way these hearts have two straps, corresponding with the butterflies' antennae!






12/18/2013

By request: the flat stars in classic christmas colors
































Somebody asked me if I would consider doing a version of the flat weave stars in more classic, christmas-like colors - and that would actually be my pleasure! I like wild color combos as much as I love the very traditional christmas classics; red, green, blue - set off with clean white.

So here they are again - but slightly different. Se weaving instructions in the older post I link to, above.

Hope you like these too - download them right here!

Malmö























The usual christmas shopping expedition to Malmö - always a bit special, even though I go there several times every year. It is a lovely place for strolling, windowshopping and fika (= relaxing with a cosy coffee break). Fika is of the utmost importance, if you ask me.

This is one of my favourite fika spots in Malmö, Konditori Hollandia, smack in the middle of the central walking street. I happen to know of several people who regularly take an outing to Malmö and have never been there, because it looks a bit too old-ladies-with-hats-and-furcoats like, but that is possibly what I love about the place. Today I had something slightly perverse to go with my lussekatt - a saffron truffle petit four. Yum! Konditori Hollandia is warmly recommended.


12/17/2013

The only useful thing I did today....

Was this hobbit sized garland to go with the hearts.

























And here my son and his friend Edith are going at it with the punching thingies.
They also consumed large amounts of æbleskiver, sugar and jam.

12/16/2013

Itty Bitty hearts

No time for blogging today at all - but I did have time to make these. They are a surprise for my son - he is four years old, and has his first little christmas tree in his room. It is just a tiny plastic one, and once in a while - not every day - I surprise him with a handful of small things to put on it, all sorts of mini-ornaments.

He is really into this (like mother, like son), and the other day I sort of promised him some proper paper hearts. And you can have them too! 

Perhaps you have a mini-tree as well? Perhaps you are a hobbit?






And, yes - they are rather small, as you can see....
I know, this is nothing, some people can make these the size of a peanut.

But this is just about the correct size for a hobbit tree.
Or my son's tree, which I might show you one of these days. It's gonna be fabulous.


12/15/2013

Easy Peasy Flat Weave Stars

Since we are exploring different kinds of stars at the moment, I thought it was time to work on this idea. A few christmases ago, I bought a small straw ornament, since I have a bit of a straw thing going on, as you know. It was made of flat strips of straw, and I also thought it would make a nice paper ornament, so I gave it a go late friday evening. And I quite like the result! 

So here are my Easy Peasy - because they really are, as soon as you get the idea - Flat weave Stars. 

I made you a set of four different ones, so just print and get started right here!


















For all who know how to weave a christmas heart, this is really simple - but I would suggest that you leave the strips flat on the table for the weaving process, as you start with four strips, and then work strips five, then six, seven and eight into the first four. If they are not laid out flat, they will be all over the place. Sort of hard to explain in words, so I took some snaps to show you the steps:






































Once you get the idea, it is very easy, and surprisingly, they need no glue at all, as the strips seem to lock each other in place. I punched some holes in them and gave them some string in bright colors.



12/14/2013

A piece of sound advice

We are all going to a big christmas lunch later today, and I am lopsided with stress right now. 
So here is a piece of sound advice for myself, and probably also for many others, I imagine. 

It comes from an old darling of mine, Subversive Cross Stitch, and I see that she (Julie Jackson, who came up with the wonderful and silly idea of x-rated cross stitch embroidery kits) writes that they have a ten year anniversary this year, wow. Sometimes it is actually possible to come up with a new and refreshing twist on something old and tired.

The one below is one of my all time favourites. If I actually followed this universal bit of good advise, maybe I would have the patience to even embroider it, as well. Well, some day, perhaps. 

Not today, that's for sure...





12/13/2013

Small DIY project: a nice set of balls - Cecilies candlestick!

I'm sorry for not being able to resist that pun in the headline. That's just me.

So, the other day my friend Cecilie posted this image on facebook, and since she always makes the most adorable things in crochet, I assumed it was something she had come up with herself. 
And right I was.

   
I think it looks great, and even though it is essentially an advent-candlestick (in Denmark we have a certain ritual with these: we light one candle, first sunday in advent, two the next, and so forth), and therfore a bit late to post here - it is also just pretty and festive, and a very doable little project. 
I could absolutely also see it with the balls in different red and pink hues, or perhaps in glittery yarn, yay!

I asked her how she had made it, and here are her instructions:

"This candlestick requires a bit of crochet skills, especially when it comes to crocheting a perfect sphere.

I used eight polystyrene balls of the good quality hobby kind you would use for dolls, sturdy decorations etc. (four 80 mm. diameter and four 60 mm. diameter), four metal candle holders, a stanley knife, yarn, crochet hook, a long ('dolls') needle, and, obviously, four candles! Use the quality kind, where the wax could be scratched off easily, if it should run into the yarn a bit.

Materials are widely available in hobby/crafting material shops, in DK they have all of it right here.

First, you'll need to cut a perfect slice of the bottoms on each of the large balls holding the candles, in order to stabilize them. To do that in an easy way, I found a small plastic container with a sharp edge in an appropriate size, and pressed it into the four balls - that gave me a precise line to cut from.

In these four large balls, you'll also need to cut out holes to squeeze the metal candleholders into  (make sure they are exactly on top, so the candles are in balance). I used the candleholders to press a marking line in the ball - same as before - before I cut out the hole.
 
When the hole is cut - don't make it too wide - press the metal candleholders in place (fasten with a bit of glue).

To do the crochet part, I did the small balls as a full cover, and the larger ones - from top towards bottom - starting around the metal candleholders. I did them free style, but there are many instructions to crochet a ball or a sphere out there. For the large balls I used a wool yarn and crochet hook no. 6, and for the small ones ordinary cotton yarn and hook no. 3.

A coat of base paint in the same color as the yarn, can be a good idea, especially if the yarn is dark, or if the yarn is of a thinner quality. Any kind of water based hobby paint will work.

When the balls are done, they are threaded together with some strong string, using the dolls needle -
and you don't necessarily need to tie them in a circle, you could also just have them in a curvy row.

Make sure that you use glues and paints that work on polystyrene.

Note that this is meant as a festive centrepiece or decoration, it is made of rather light materials, and should - of course - NEVER be moved around when the candles are lit, just as you should make sure to watch it, keep small kids at a distance and put out the candles before they reach the metal holders. 

Merry Christmas!"

12/12/2013

Support your local designer / Pleated Stars by Tine Mouritsen

Since we are in a bit of a starry mood these days, let me introduce you to another starstruck lady: 
architect and interior designer Tine Mouritsen. 

She too, is a lady who likes to pleat - she has even done designs for Le Klint (among many, many other things) - and if you are into pleating, you'll know what that is about, otherwise click and find out!

But back to Tine: she made this series of pleated star decorations this year - some are meant for hanging, either as small tree ornaments, or as a little flock in a mobile - others are meant for table decoration. 

I saw them in a shop a while ago, and this particular kind of pleated star I had never seen before - and when I discovered that they were made by a local designer, whom I even sort-of-knew, I had to share them here.

They are really pretty, and you can find stockists and info here at Livingly, who produces them!


12/11/2013

Solino stars

Today I want to put you up to a bit paper cutting, so here are some lovely - and not as much work as 
they might look - paper 'solino' stars. They might have many names, and I certainly didn't invent them, but, as you will see, I made things a lot easier for you, should you want to give these a go!

I spotted them in Berlin, and in Germany they are called 'Solino Sterne' - so I'll stick with that.
People usually make them in thin colored paper, and it is a huge job to mark out all the many folding
and pattern lines, but - tadaa - I did that for you!
































Download my solino star sheets - one sheet for each star - right here!

Here are some practical advice before you start - follow them, and then they are easy to make!
  • You need small, sharp, pointy scissors.
  • Start by cutting the two strips and carefully 'concertina'-fold them. Use the edge folding lines.
  • One strip at a time, and - note this - one fold at a time, carefully cut the pattern cut-outs.
  • They are all printed on one side, but you can actually just see them throuth the paper, if you hold the paper up to the light, and in that way you can do the cut-outs from both sides.
  • When you are done, carefully glue the two pieces together, using only a narrow line of glue!
  • I have used the thinnest possible cutting line in the print, and a bit of it will still show after you are done, no matter how precise you are - but never mind, they aren't noticable when you see the ornament in full swing, so to speak. Also you only see them on one side - you could choose to display only the other side. I like them hanging, though - in a thin, white piece of thread.
  • Instead of threading them around the center, I have simply poured a drop of glue down the middle, and sort of pressed them in place - much easier that way. 



Getting there, sort of . . .

The thing with me, is that I haven't really gotten around to realizing it is December, personally -
if you know what I mean. I have been sitting very much at home in my (if you can believe it) not 
yet very christmassy looking home, and have been working on some absolutely un-christmassy projects.
The weather is grey and wet, so not very much help there, either. I look out the window, and it could be October or February.

But yesterday we went to visit my sister and had æbleskiver, and the whole place looked just so much in season. It was lovely. I have to show you the nisse-window:

























I promptly went home and hung this baby in the window. And now I think I am slowly getting there....

























If there are others out there with a similar problem, I will redirect you to a favourite blog of mine;
Door Sixteen - and to blogger Anna Dorfmans annual repost of the swedish christmas songs from her childhood.

If nothing else will, that usually does it for me.

12/10/2013

Papermatrix

No blog that sometimes (or even rather often) is about papercrafting, is complete without
a reference to the fantastic Danish mother-daughter outfit  Papermatrix!

They do the most astonishing designs, not for absolute beginners, I will say (I have tried some of
their woven cones), but worth the struggle.

Their website, which is in English, by the way, is crammed with free templates and advice, and they have also written a couple of books on the topic. They sometimes do workshops here in Copenhagen, but I haven't tried that. Would like to, though!

Their templates are line drawings and can be printed straight on to plain colored printing paper (as I think is done with many of the designs shown on the website), which is actually very decent for weaving, or at least for practising.

They are endlessly creative, and come up with new beatiful things all the time. I am completely awestruck.

Here - and this is just a very, very small taste - are some of their crazy and unusual heart designs.












































All images are from papermatrix.wordpress.com

12/09/2013

Support your local designer / Hamide

The other day I went to an art show opening, and saw some rather cool and interesting art.

It was a cold and rainy night, so I kept standing around for a refill of the delicious hot lemon and rum toddy they served there - and kept bumping into the same very nice girl. Turned out she had an office next to the exhibition space, and that she and her sister run this fine graphic design studio and brand: 'Hamide' - which they named after their Turkish mother, who was a tailor, thus honoring all her values
as an artisan and craftswoman.

They design all sorts of printed matter; calendars, posters, postcards, notebooks and the like.
Only a few days before I met her, I had been admiring some of their products in a shop somewhere,
so it was one of those funny coincidences.

Their elegant products make great christmas or new year gifts, and they have a 50% sale right now!

Read their adorable story, and check out their webshop right here...


Both images are from hamide.co

12/08/2013

Knit one purl two - it's another folksy heart!

I had such fun playing around with my embroidery and knitting motifs the other day,
that I just had to make another folksy and quite sweatery heart!
































You can download it right here.

I love these patterns, that you might find in embroideries, as the ones I showed you a few days ago,
and in knitting patterns, and I collect them from all kinds of places. I sometimes even scan them, 
and vectorize them (lots of work!) - and the thing is, I neither knit, nor embroider.
But they are lovely all the same.

A folksy, wooly sweater is a kind of a timeless classic.

In Norway it would be a lusekofte, in other parts of the world it would be called a fair isle sweater.
They never seem to go out of fashion, and somehow embody a wholesome, outdoorsy and 
retro no-nonsense kind of dressing.





































It even works with blazing red lipstick, and a little silly helmet-thingy, see? So cool.

A funny story that comes to mind, about such sweaters and their timeless appeal, is the almost world wide rage the Sarah Lund Sweater has caused. As perhaps you know, Sarah Lund is the heroine of the popular Danish television series The Killing.

Actress Sofie Gråbøl, who plays her, picked out the world famous sweater herself, among a lot of possible outfits for the tough and clever detective heroine, in an early costume fitting session. She picked it, she explains, because she felt that the sweater in so many ways, perfectly tells who Sarah Lund is. A woman who doesn't feel the need to neither power dress, nor dress sexy, but has her own definition of power, practical femininity, and of herself.

Her specific sweater is said to be a Faroese classic, but knitting nerds from all over Scandinavia have argued endlessly over this, so you didn't hear that from me - but it has a website dedicated to it!

And Sarah Lund is a modern sweater girl, indeed - or should I say sweater woman?
That's more appropriate, somehow.

Sofie Gråbøl / Sarah Lund - in the sweater of sweaters

12/07/2013

Fantastic origami / Jun Mitani

This amazing origami artist popped up in some google search I made not long ago -
I thought I would share him with you readers here.






















I found this little article about him (text by Caroline Aufort) on Li Edelkoorts blog, Trendtablet

Jun Mitani is a computer engineer, but he’s also a paper artisan; he designs origami pieces with computer programs that he develops himself. Seems complicated ? 
Not for him, as he explained to us: "My speciality in the field of computer graphics is geometric modeling, so it’s not difficult for me to develop computer programs for designing origami once 
the underlying theory of origami geometry is clarified."

The beauty of his creations might be in the clearness and smooth complexity of the shapes, 

almost just curves. The form is completely calculated by computer, it looks like an impossible 
things to make with just one piece of paper, but it is; Jun first start to work on his program, 
explores variety of origami shapes before he began to fold a sheet of real paper. 
The programs generate a crease pattern (a pattern of valley fold lines and mountain fold lines).

The pattern is scored on a sheet of paper by a cutting plotter. 

With these digital devices, now these sophisticated origami pieces are realized.

That’s why his art work is not just the folded origami pieces but also the software programs. 

Recently, Jun Mitani collaborated to 132 5. Issey Miyake collection.
Those three-dimensional garments are not cut or sewn but folded with permanent pleats. 
Invisible snaps allow the garment to be adjusted and fitted to the body.

Here are some more beautiful things he made:



















Here is his own website, and here is a crazy timelapse video, where he folds one of his towers.