lördag 5 augusti 2017

Upcycling - sunglass case

In the beginning of last Summer I bought a pair of sunglasses to each one of my two children. When we bought them we talked about a case for the sunglasses and all three of us agreed immediately to do our own cases together by upcycling stuff we had.

As we searched for stuff to make up a sunglass case at home we realized the textiles we had weren't suitable for this kind of project.

So we combined pleasure with "work" and next day we took a tour into town a coffee and cake out and looked for suitable felt textiles. I just pointed out the "right" kind of textiles and the kinds choose the ones they wanted for their sunglasses case.

Our plan for the cases 

    We needed a plan. Not a fancy detailed plan. Let me remind you that this       was a project I did together with two children ages 9 and 6. So it was not       supposed to be perfect. Imperfection is welcome in our projects.    
    Imperfection is an important part on learning.
    Besides the very purpose of this "mother - children project" was to be a        moment of fun so we could do something together and they could learn to    do their own stuff mostly out of whatever they already have.
    The only thing we purchased for this project was the felt textile.


After the kids cut the cereal package
Marking folding lines in cereal package

measuring the textile 
We used empty cereal package to embody the sunglass cases. Why?
So the cases could be hard enough to protect the sunglasses, easy enough for the kids to work with and because it was an  available material at home.

We used the sunglasses to measure the cases.
If you are going to do a case according to mine humble instructions, remember to measure the depth of the glasses so your case is deep enough for your sunglasses. Otherwise they wont fit the case...

Fortunately I came up on that detail before it was too late.

Hand sewing the outer shell
Then we used the already shaped cardboard from the cereal package to measure the textile. Because the kids were doing part of the job it was important that each cardboard fitted the textile properly, so I took over the making of the cases during the next two or three steps.

As you can see you need an inch/centimeter or so more in textile around the cardboard for the outer shell. The inner shell should be just the same size and shape as the cardboard.

The inner shell is glued to the cardboard with white textile glue. A part of the process the kids loved to do.

Glueing inner and outer shell

I sewed the outer shell of the case on the sides before glueing the top parts on the inner boarders of the sunglasses cases.

This step was made by all of us.

It takes a lot of time for the children's safe textile glue to dry. So don't hurry, this project might take more than one day from idea to the finish product.

The clothes springs did helped the stubborn felt textile to stay in place during the many hours of glue drying.

After that I folded the felt around the upper and lower edges, sewed and glued it in place. We had black round velcro tape from older projects. So I attached them to the inner upper lock of the cases and the outer lower lock. Remember to fit it before you attach them.

The final results?
Two sunglasses cases that stil work as a charm after a year and the kids love to use them and take more care in their sunglasses than they did before.


torsdag 3 augusti 2017


River Vouga's clear water by the mountain
 Today I would like to share one of mine favorite places with you.
 It is a humble place and I am sure almost none of you ever heard  of it. Even many people from my home region never guessed the  pearls they can find there until I told them and showed the  pictures.

 My friends let me tell you about humble Paradela.
 Paradela is a small village near the little mountain town Sever do  Vouga in Aveiro district, Portugal.
 See here: Paradela

Vouga from Quinta do Barco beach.
What is so special about Paradela?
The village extends itself in a mountain side and stretches from the valley bathed by the beautiful river Vouga upwards to the top of the hill.

By the river you can bathe on the river in a children friendly river bank beach, the Quinta do Barco beach. Or if the 20 degrees Celcius of the river water in July are too cold for you, just have a barbecue or sit at the Summer café.

View of the River Vouga from the beach

How is a river bank beach safe for your children to bathe?

Rivers are supposed to have currents and be deep and all...
However this beach is not a natural one. It was human made and it's makers made sure children could bathe there and you have facilities as barbecues, toilets, tables, benches, etc...

The people that made this beach made a floating deck with a built in pool so your child can safely bathe there.

Besides the pool kind of warms the water that slowly runs through it so it is warmer for your child to bathe there, or for you to just sit there and chill.

I did not understood when the river bank beach is monitored by a life gard but I did saw a guy there several times, and you do find life saving stuff there.

If you are up for a swim in the deepest part of the river you can do that too. Just jump from the edge or if you are more like myself, take the stairs!

Whatever kind of swimmer you are, or not, you can for sure spend a few hours surrounded by beautiful trees, the river and enjoying the village surroudings if you visit the Praia Fluvial (river bank beach) Quinta do Barco located at the very lowest point of Paradela.

Even if your Portuguese is rusty you can look at the back side of the information board at the beach and look for the latest water test results, or just see what kind of fauna it houses.

The old pasta factory. 

 Now if you get tired of the river bank beach you can actually do a  lot more in this little mountain village in the heart of Portugal.

 Just visit the Ecocafé in the old train station on Paradela.
 It is full of surprises!


 There you can enjoy a concert, attend workshops on many different  subjects, loan a book on the village's library or leave a book and  take a new one on the café's book crossing initiative. On a rainy day  you can even seat there in the transformed library attic and read a while.

Blueberry lemonade

There you can enjoy a concert, attend workshops on many different subjects, loan a book on the village's library or leave a book and take a new one on the café's book crossing initiative. On a rainy day you can even seat there in the transformed library attic and read a while.

You can do all that while enjoying well manufactured local products as this delicious blueberry lemonade I had.

View from the Ecocafé. 

The view form the Ecocafé are a blend of industrial beauty, the mountains, the river and villages.

There you can find the old pasta factory that is nowadays home to a lot of offices.

Ecopista do Vouga 
 Now I'm guessing you already think this place is great. But it's not over!
 At the café you can hire bikes and helmets and take a ride in the eco biking  trail that covers the old railway track. My kids loved it! They learned about  wild blackberries there and now they can't wait until next year's ride there  and raiding the wild blackberries vines.

 You can find more information on the Ecopista in Portuguese in this  site: Ecopista do Vouga

 Hopefully that site could soon be available in other languages. 

Wild blackberries

Ecopista do Vouga
If you plan to eat a meal there are several restaurants that serve local produced food nearby.

If you're planing to visit the humble and beautiful Paradela you can in one of the villages rural hotels, in the near by town Sever do Vouga or in other location near/on Aveiro. It takes only 20 to 25 minutes to reach Paradela from Aveiro if you take the A25 and about 45 if you take the old road that follows the river Vouga's natural curves. 


 Now I have shared one of my favorite places and what I usually do    there with you. Hope you have the chance to enjoy it! 

torsdag 2 mars 2017

Upcycling textiles - second hand findings

Table towel upcycling 

Many people are afraid to buy textiles in second hand. Some think it is unhygienic and that it smells bad. I can understand their point of view. Some do not how to take care of textiles that need upcycling and extra care.  
On one of my latest "treasure hunting" at a second hand shop I found this precious example of handicraft, a cross stitched table towel.

Just think about the hours and energi someone put on this beautiful towel! 
I bought it for about 10 Euros. I took it home and hand washed it with mild soap a couple of times, not just to clean it. I too need to take away the "second hand shop"-smell and feel it is really, really clean. 

There was a catch though... It had a hole near the middle. So, what would you do? Throw away this good example of quality handicraft or try to rescue it? 

I tried to rescue it. I could have done so many things with it. Clip parts of it and apply them on other textiles, furniture and so on. However I really wanted to keep it so close to the original as possible. I also bought some chrochet to apply it on the towel. Of course I could't just ignore the hole... 

 I had thread in the same beige tone at home, so I sew the hole carefully filling in the gap.
Then I applied the chrochet piece gluing it with textile glue and sewing the edges of the chrochet piece to the towel to give some stability. 

I'am very happy with the result. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to take pictures to the final result. I promise to update this post on that as soon as I can! 
Don't be afraid to go treasure hunting on textiles on second hand shops and to upcycle your findings! Good hunting!   

tisdag 20 september 2016

Travelling Portugal 2016 - Part 1 Mira Daire

Mira Daire - an anonymous preciosity 

This Summer we stayed in Portugal for two weeks. We flew from Copenhagen to Lisbon with TAP, excellent service and it took us only about 3 and a half hours. The flight begun at (the horror) 6 am!!! So between the bird early flight and the time difference we were done with the car rental by 10:00. 

Now I wont lie to you. I am a planer, the kind that literally comes to the airport with a folder containing all tickets, rental plans, and so on... So the plan was to drive from the airport to this place I had only driven by and wished to visit, Mira Daire. It took us just over an hour to arrive, because Lisbon traffic is quite ok at 10 am, the highways in Portugal are pretty good and the GPS took us right on the target. 

Now if you are the kind of traveller that want to see more than beaches and bars in Portugal I recommend the caves at Mira Daire, but you do need some help. For starters the village has three ways of writing its name: Mira Daire, Mira de Aire and... Mira D'aire. All three are the same place! 

I had booked a bungalow for our family. The bungalows are located near the exit from the caves, about 300 meters down road from the entrance to the caves. 
Just press the bungalow you like and fill in the form. The guy ahead of the bookings will answer you personally. Here's some help  to fill in the form: 
nome = name
data de entrada = check in date 
transcreva os seguintes números = write the following numbers 

The cave visit was really nice, just ask for a guide that speaks english. Our guide was not that good, he spoke like he was bored, we had a good laugh at it. The caves however are stunning!!! My poor Iphone 4's camera does not do any justice to the beauty of the caves.

The little pool 

Mira Daire is a small, very small village located in the top of a mountain. The company that has the rights to the guided visits also owns a nice restaurant and gift shop just by the entrance of the caves and owns the bungalows. My kids loved the gift shop. But they loved even more the water park that is just downstairs from the bungalow area. You see, we could be at the water park certain hours for free. If you ask my kids, the water park is the best thing about Mira Daire. For us adults it was great too. Not too small not too big, just perfect for our 6 and 10 years old children to play and practice their swimming after a day of adventures.

I loved the bungalows. We had a table outside and it was perfect to eat outside. We could do basic cooking so we enjoyed a few meals looking over the forest and the sunset over the mountains. Just outside the village you can find a bigger grocery store or you can buy food in the smaller village stores.

Outside the bungalow we had our own garden as you can see on the pictures. 
So we were there for two nights and we loved it. Just book ahead and ask the locals. Have fun!

måndag 11 april 2016

Rabbit hut - part 2

I'm Here's how the rabbit hut turned out! 
I wanted it to have a clean design, a pretty interior and to be functional. 
I gave it wheels so we can move it around the house according to our and our rabbit's needs. 

Then I cut the cabinet's legs, worked on my "wax in, wax of" with sand paper all around it. I put it together, opened a hatch so the rabbit can move around both floors. I painted it a few times, put hens net on three of it's four doors, painted the knobs with golden spray. 
 Made a ramp (the hardest part of the project), made a hey-dispenser out of hens net... 
And finally I had a lot of fun decorating the interior of the hut. My new best friend is spray-glue! I had old shaders that I glued to the walls and floors. I even made a matching different wall with plastic film. 
And voilá! A rabbit hut is done! It's prettier and it turned out to be more economic that the pre-fab.s you can get online or at pet shops! 
And the rabbit seems to enjoy it!