City Coasters.

So, here we go again – this time with something completely different. But before I start I want to dedicate this post to my best friend Ola! CZEŚĆ OLA WIEM ŻE CZYTASZ.

These are coasters with various cities, white buildings on black background create beautiful patterns. I like how they look together, they are different but equally interesting. Scale is the same for all of them. First I had to choose between creating map based on buildings and creating map based on roads. I’ve picked buildings because I’m dumb and dumb people like to make their lifes harder. This takes way too much time, roads are just as good. So be reasonable, not dumb.

I’ve seen some tutorials on making coasters but I thought I would just figure it out myself and use tools and materials from my stash. So everything you will see below is just my take on the process of making coasters. The whole trick is in using two forms of clear varnish – spray and liquid. Spray is for setting and liquid is for securing. This is also how I varnish water-based paint on plywood.

1. Paint regular cork coasters black. I used black ink and a sponge to apply a thin layer. Let them dry.

2. Varnish them with a clear spray varnish to avoid bleeding upon the contact with water.

3. Print out your designs. Cut them out. You can use regular printing paper.

4. Now the important part. Use the same spray varnish on paper (picture 4.a). Be generous (picture 4.b). Repeat at least once just to be sure. Believe me, no matter how much you apply the edges of your printout will still look sharp, because we avoid touching paper. At least they should, that is the point of using varnish in spray form. We are trying to make paper waterproof without laminating it. After drying the paper should have a distinctive shine to it (picture 4.c). If you do it wrong, you will find out later.

5. Stick your shiny paper to a thicker paper with spray adhesive. This glue is extremely strong and will not soak your paper. Thicker paper will make your work easier.

6. Time to fit paper to cork. Diameter of paper circles should be smaller than diameter of coasters. If you do them exactly the same size you can accidentally peel off the paper. Cork coasters might be irregualar, so use pencil to trace them.

7. Use spray adhesive again, this time to glue paper to cork. With thick paper it should be easy. They almost look like finished, you just have to do one more thing.

8. Which gets us to the fun part. Prepare any stable form of pedestal to rise your coasters above the table. I used tapes, I have a whole collection. Use brush to apply a thin layer of clear liquid varnish. Focus on the egde of a paper circle. Let it dry completely. Repeat at least three more times. Keep the layers fairly thin, they dry faster and make less air bubbles than thicker layers. Done!

You are probably wondering, why is this step the fun part. Well, if you mess up step number 4 – like I did the first time – you will notice it now, at the very end. If you apply liquid varnish and your paper is not secured enough with spray varnish, the ink on your printout will bleed as you can see in the picture below. So you have to peel off the paper carefully to keep the cork intact, go back to step number 3, listen to this and stay cool. It also depends on the design, if the bleeding occurs and it is barely visible you can just roll with it, which is not the case when you have tiny white buildings on the black background.

After completing the whole process your house should smell like a meth lab with all the varnish and glue particles floating in the air. Serioulsly, do this outside if you can. I was tripping balls going through step number 7 the second time. Also, I recommend protecting your workspace with plastic bags or newspaper and using disposable gloves.

They should be fairly durable but they are definitely not dishwasher safe, just avoid soaking them in water and they should be fine. If they need cleaning, wipe them with a wet towel. If you need heavy duty coasters, you have to look somewhere else.

Make them with your own desing and enjoy. :)

Sewing Machine Cover.

It is still chilly outside – make sure your sewing machine has something to wear!

As you can see, the cover that was provided by the manufacturer has become completely useless and I had to throw it away. I needed a new cover, the one that would protect my sewing machine from dust and be more durable. So here it is.

The final form of the cover was loosely based on the Apple Picking Tote by Purl Bee, though I’ve made enough changes to the pattern to consider the cover my idea.

There is also a hole for the handle which can be covered to prevent the machine from getting dusty.

I’ve also made a complementary drawstring bag for foot control with cables. As you can see, the bag can be put on the machine bed which is also convenient.

This fabric is from IKEA. I had some in stash and it was barely enough to make all those things. This is all that was left after cutting, so I was lucky. What is great about this fabric is the width of stripes and that is exactly 1 cm – it makes everything easier, from cutting and pinning to sewing.

My machine loves its new coat, hah.

The Newest Sketchbook – now with more rhombuses!

Oooh, is this a BRAND NEW notebook with RHOMBUSES all over the cover…?

Unfortunately, there are only several clean pages left in my first notebook, so it was high time for me to make a new one. Previously I followed a bookbinding tutorial by James Darrow and this time was no different. This tutorial is really helpful, I recommend it for all your bookbinding adventures.

In the new sketchbook pages are oriented horizontally, because I wanted to get into drawing cityscapes and streets. You can tell by the generic city skyline picture on the cover. The pattern is nice on its own and at first I wanted to leave the cover as it is – it was hard to come up with something that would match the background – but then I thought that a circle could break the monotony and it did.

My first notebook has a rhombus on the cover on purpose. The second one has rhombuses on its cover by accident – this is what I happened to have in stash. The third one is just part of the tradition. Now I feel the urge to make such notebooks every single time.

Endsheets are made of coloured paper. I like how great silver stars look on navy blue background. They are either cut with a puncher and glued or drawn with a silver pen. You can also see them on the cover.

The finished sketchbook has 120 pages and this is more than enough. If I added one more signature then these huge binder clips I used in the making process would have a problem to hold all those pages.

Bookbinding is fun and inexpensive and I feel I am getting better at this. If you would like to get down to it, please do – this is an exceptionally rewarding process. You can see my other notebooks by clicking the links below.

1. Black ’80s notebook.
2. White calligraphy notebook.

Black Tulle Skirt – The Tale of the Massive Fail.

Finally! After the battle my first skirt is done. The choice of tulle was a huge mistake. The skirt looks completely different from what I’ve had in mind and I’m not sure if I will be wearing it. I wanted to make a skirt that has a witch vibe – floating, voluminous, light. I’ve found such skirt in New Look during the sewing process – check it out here if the link still works or see the picture below. I’ve tried it on and it looked underwhelming on me, so maybe making a similar model wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Anyway, here is what it looks like.

It all started with an old dress. The bottom part became the base of the skirt so I’ve bought tulle for the volume and all I had to do was joining these two types of fabric.

It turns out that tulle is a pain to sew, it is so hard to control it and cut it straight. The pinning itself took me ages. I should have done much more research before cutting the fabric, because later I realized that it refuses to crease like it should and it’s stiff instead of being floaty. My guess is I cut it the wrong way.

At first I wanted to make a wide elastic waistband, similar to the waistband in the aforementioned New Look skirt, but I thought it would be hard to do with so many layers of tulle so I sticked to what I can actually pull off. And now it is even more bulky than delicate.

The other thing that is worth mentioning is the bottom edge of the skirt. In a normal world bottom edges of such skirts are always raw. Seriously, the thing I’ve done… I have never seen something like this in any tulle skirt. But I had to sew it because all those layers of tulle were impossible to tame and I couldn’t walk through the door without touching the door frame. That was ridiculous and I had to make changes. Below you can see the before and after pictures.

At least now the nightmare is over. On the bright side, I like how shiny it is. Everything else is just bad. I guess I have to take a break from making garments.

Little Anniversary Gift for Parents.

My parents’ 30th wedding anniversary was several weeks ago and I gave them a little gift. You might remember the picture of me and my boyfriend I made last year for our 5th anniversary (I posted it together with the pattern, you can get it for free if you want to make such picture yourself). My parents saw it a couple of months ago – they liked it and found it cute so I thought I could do a similar picture for them.

There are some changes. Firtsly, I’ve changed the font size. Secondly, people are hugging instead of holding hands. This way I’ve had more space to do two verions of them. 30 years is a lot of time, people get older and change their apperance. On the left side they are in their infamous clothes from their 20s, fashion was peculiar back then. On the right side they are in their everyday clothes, they both love wearing short light blue jeans. Their hairstyles are different too.

I’m surprised that moustache turned out fine. It’s the hardest part because it’s not a cross-stitch and grid on the canvas is not much of a help.

It’s a fun little project that is far from being complex, expensive, or time-consuming.

Finished picture is 18 cm wide and 13 cm high. You can buy this frame in IKEA, its name is FISKBO.

On a side note, I want to thank R. who has helped me in choosing the right design for this picture!