Oct 12, 2014

Digital storytelling for crafters

Crafters and Bloggers love photos and videos, but how to make them? What software to use, how it works, is it expensive? And how to combine photos, video, music, speach?
I recently attended amazing course on Coursera, I woudl recommend to anyone. If you miss this opportunity in October, visit the site Digital Storytelling where you can find tons of materials and tuts. Good luck, enjoy!
Read more "Digital storytelling for crafters"

Sep 22, 2014

No sugar oven-baked plum jam recipe

I know there are number of jam recipes on the net, but sawing so much sugar added in the most of them, I decided to share this very simple jam recipe with NO sugar at all.


- 3 kg of plums
- rum or vanilla sugar to add - optional
- small portion of salt


1. Wash plums and remove stalks and stones.  All fruit need to be healthy, discard any that have rotten parts.

2. Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F). Place the plums into a deep roasting pan. Add pinch of salt. Bake it until the juice evaporates (not all of it) - cc 2 hours,  stirring occasionally. Optional: when you notice jam is thickening, add rum or vanilla flavour. 

3. Remove from the oven. If you prefer, chop up with the stick blender. Pour gently into clean, sterilised, hot  jars.  I usually leave jars with jam  in the oven  on 100⁰ C for 15 minutes and then close them. Enjoy, it is really delicious!

Read more "No sugar oven-baked plum jam recipe"

Aug 21, 2014

Create your own jam labels or tags using MS Word

There are thousands of label examples on the net, but i usually have my own idea, or the label I like the most can't be customized. One afternoon I tried to create label by myself, using MS Word (2010). It wasn't very easy ("&#%!@?!" for Microsoft), but neither so difficult. I prepared tutorial how to do it, just to remind you on the possibilities of the tool you probably have installed.

Tutorial how to create labels and tags using MS Word

The tutorial is related to Microsoft Word 2010 (I am mentioning that because, as usually, some features are improved, but for some of them, Microsoft made step back).

First, decide on the shape of your label.

On Insert tab use Shapes and choose the one you like - this time I added 'blue' shape (half circle).

You can change the size of the object buy dragging one of the small circles (green arrow) or you can rotate the object (red arrow) -  rotate this circle (of yellow color).

You can see that the object's size changed when dragged the small circle.

Changing color and outline

To pick up the desired color of the object, mist go to the Drawing Tools (upper right on the image).

Click on Shape Fill and pick up the color. Or you can choose No Fill if you don't want any color.

For the outline, procedure is very similar as above, only click on: Shape Outline. 

For  my labels, I chose the 'No Outline' option.

Want more sofisticated look? 

On the 'Shape Fill' pop up menu choose More Fill Colors for the color options or : Texture 

 รจ M ore Textures  for the other options available.

Now you can customize gradient, patterns, shadows, ... .  Try and play a little bit.

This is the example for the gradient.

And this is how to choose the pattern - I chose the dot pattern, of course.

Adding image and text

First step is to pick up image you like. I wanted to remove borders and how I did it read on my post here.

After you inserted the picture, right click on it - you'll get pop-up menu. Click on 'Wrap Text' and choose the Front of Text option. Now you can drag the picture on the created shape.

You  see the plums on the the shapes (previously I dragged the smaller shape and put it on the bigger one). 
To add text,  repeat steps Insert -> Shapes -pick up the Text box.

Input desired text, choose the font size and type. If you want additional customization, click on letter A  on the Tool bar - choose on of the offered options and, additionally, option Transform, if you like e.g. rounded text.

Label is finished. 

How to copy labels

Usually, I need more than just one label. The easiest way to copy it is first to select all 'parts' (select one by one and keep the Shift button pressed).

After selecting all components, click on the Group icon and choose Group. Now, you can Copy --> Paste your label as a single shape.

Hope this is helpful. may be there are some other ways to do some steps, I am constantly discovering  MS Word features or how to do something.

jar tag

jar tag

jar tag

jar label

Read more "Create your own jam labels or tags using MS Word"

Aug 4, 2014

Homemade Sage Syrup

Sage (or Salvia Officinnalis)  is one of the most healing plants, well known and used since the ancient times.
This recipe is so simple and the result is amazing - tasteful, refreshing and healing   sage syrup.


30 dag of sage leaves ( I have huge sage in my garden and used it for the recipe)
2 kg sugar
7 - 10 dag citric acid
2 l water

Take pot (pressure cooker is good choice as it has lid that could be firmly closed), cover the bottom with leaves and sprinkle them with citric acid. Continue with layers of leaves, each one sprinkle with the citric acid. 

In another pot put 30 dag of sugar and heat it until crystals dissolve, then put 2 l of water, add the rest of sugar and cook about 20 minutes. Stir the sage leaves with this mixture, close the lid and leave 24 hours. 
Filtrate the liquid and pour in bottles.

Use undiluted for sore throats or thickly coughs, even asthma or diluted as a refreshing drink.
Read more "Homemade Sage Syrup"

Jul 18, 2014

Cheerful Summer Bag

Finally finished this cheerful summmer bag. Birds you can see are brooches so I will be able to wear them in the winter, too, to make my day. Tut for brooches find in this post.

Just to give you a short input how I made it: 

Original fabric is upholstery fabric I bought in Ikea. 

Decided to painted it - used acrylic paints for fabric I already had.

I like to have pockets in the bag, so I made a lining with zipper pocket on one side and plain pockets on the other.

After the bag was finished, just put my birds on it.

Read more "Cheerful Summer Bag "

Jul 1, 2014

Felted birds brooch - multipurpose

felted birds brooch

Birds are singing all day long in my garden and i can't help it but make few felted birds brooches to put them on my purse or wear them as brooches. Read this tutorial below to see how it is easy to make them.

Tutorial how to make felted birds brooch



Besides felt and fabric scraps, I used small buttons for eyes, double-sided iron-on vlieseline tape (to fasten scraps), filling and brooch pin.

felted birds brooch pattern

felted birds brooch patterns

First I draw the shape on the paper and cut it out - used it to cut two pieces from felt. Then cut 'wing' shape from fabric scrap, fasten it using double-sided iron-on vlieseline tape and sew it afterwards on the felt. Sew the button for the eye.

felted birds brooch layers

felted birds brooch layers

felted birds brooch layers

Now it is time to form the bird - put first back, then yellow piece for the beak, fillling, string for legs and front felt. Fasten it with the pin.

To make final stiching easier, I basted pieces first and then hand stiched it.

felted birds brooch pin

Finally sew the brooch pin at the back - I experimented a little bit  and found out that the best result is achieved with the pin put in the middle of the bird. 

Read more "Felted birds brooch - multipurpose"

Jun 22, 2014

DIY Hermes paper bags to download

Hemes bags - dreams, dreams. But, if you can't buy the leather bag, you can make paper one. Hermes offered the pattern of their famous Kelly bag. They removed the pattern from their site, but download it here.

Fortunatelly, the Jige clasp is still available on their site - here is the link to pdf file.

Just in case Hermes update their site and  remove patterns, here is the file (pdf).
Have fun!
Read more "DIY Hermes paper bags to download"

Jun 10, 2014

Macerate sage (and other plants)

I have small garden around my house, mostly flowers and smaller bushes. One part is reserved for vegetables. Have to say, not very successful -still didn't win the war against snails who are devouring everything green. Among few plants resistant to snails is sage (Salvia Officinalis) and I am proud to say the sage bush in my garden is more than meter and half wide and I was challenged to use sage in some other way than for tea or as a spice.

So, I decided to macerate the sage and use it afterwards for aromatherapy.

How to macerate sage (and other plants)

Macerating is rather simple process. I collected sage leaves (in the morning),  put them in the jar and pour virgin olive oil over the leaves (some other vegetable oil could be used as well). I will put the jar on sunny place, leave it for 4 weeks ( shake it daily). After that period, I will remove leaves and filter the oil. I am very curious about the result. At least, i will learn something new.

Read more "Macerate sage (and other plants)"

May 14, 2014

How to erase or remove background from your photo - part two

This post is actually update of the previous post on the same topic. In the meantime I learned something new. First, the Clippingmagic is not absolutely free of charge any more - you can try it, but can't download photo without subscription: the lowest one is still very cheap - 2.99 $ for a one month usage and 15 downloads (15 photos edited, you can download as many intermediate results as you wish - this is quite sufficient for me) or 7.99 $ for 100 downloads per month.

How to improve the final result

Second, I would  like to show you how to improve the final result. Using Clippingmagic you can't achieve sometimes the result you expect - it depends on the background contrast and probably some other things. For the furniture pieces I couldn't get the straight edges everywhere. So, I used another (free) tool - PhotoScape to make corrections. Silly me, in the first place, used Clone stamps tool and Paint brush, but there is no possibility to draw the line with this tools. And, out of desperation, found easy and fast method - just used lines objects - this tool is present in the majority of photo editing software.

Photo above is related to the PhotoScape, but steps are the same in other software.

Step 1: Choose the 'line' shape

Step 2: Choose the white color of the the line (or the color of the background)

Step 3: Choose the thickness of the line (the very thin line probably won't work good enough)

Step 4: Draw the line just next to the edge you want to correct
Read more "How to erase or remove background from your photo - part two"

May 12, 2014

Side table remake tutorial

side table after makeover

side table after makeover

This side table is now living new life in my kitchen. I always need more space for the kitchen tools - thing left in the pantry are forgotten forever. Recently we made some refurbishment in the kitchen and i found a right place for the small side table. Remembered I have one old in the garage and decided to paint it. This is the result.
And short tutorial follows.

Tutorial how to remake an old side table

side table before makeover

This is the photo of the table before the remake, just to get the picture.


- usual suspects for this type of project: acrylic paints (including black school board paint), napkin and decoupage glue (for the black dots), primer, sanding paper, filler, brushes and roller, protective tape, stencils, transparent varnish for the final coat.

table with filler

Table came with the holes on the upper side - I decided to keep those in the middle and fill the ones on edges - used acrylic filler for wood. As the holes were cca 5 mm deep, put the filler in few steps. After each step, left few hours to dry. In the meantime, put the coat of primer on the table legs.

Once I was happy with the 'filler' work, sanded the table and painted it using cream white for the legs,  black paint for the upper side (school board black), red for the shelf.

Now, the best part of the work started  (at least for me). Used protective tape to get the stripes and then painted them with red color. 


For the stenciling and stripes used little sponge (you can see it on photo). What is important here is to dry the sponge before you use it for stenciling (or stripes) - meaning, put the sponge in color and then on the paper to get rid of the excess paint. With this approach you avoid leakages under stencil or tape and get the neat work.

For the black dotes I used such napkin and decoupaged it on the table sides.
Finally, put the two coats of transparent varnish, for the protection (not on the upper side of the table painted with the school board paint).

I had to put the photo of my trivet - I regularly use it when working on projects, it really helps to save the back.

Read more "Side table remake tutorial"