Thank you farmor

Today it’s Ada Lovelace day, commemorating the world’s first computer programmer by celebrating women in tech. I’d like to take a moment to think about my grandmother Ingrid, who was a skilled architect and a fantastic person. Her drive and ability has always inspired me. The drawing table she used throughout her career is now in my flat in London. The day she passed it on to me was one of the last times I saw her. Just before I drove off with the van, she took my hand, looked up at me and said “It’s a piece of my life I’m giving you.”

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Shirt from shirt

At my favourite Stockholm charity shop, Stadsmissionen, I once found this quite unshapely black 80’s blouse with kick-arse collar and buttons.

Yes but no but yes but no but...

Today the time had come to do something about it. I wasn’t in the mood to get the old Husqvarna out so I decided to go simple. Scissor time! I cut off the large sleeves, tried it in front of the mirror, cut off some more, and then actually did a few stitches by hand for a dart-like shape adjustment on the front of each arm hole.

Lol
And done! Sorry for the mirror posing… Not easy taking pictures of yourself!

Open sides! Let's pretend it's summer!
45 minutes max.

ECU
Yes, I kept the frayed edges because I am lazy.

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Bottle candle holders and tray

Repurposing time!

Where we’ve moved, we can’t make any holes in the walls or ceilings, so we can’t hang a lamp over the dining table. This has made me realise that before people had lamps, they used candles for something else than creating a sexy atmosphere. That’s right… they’re actually a light source! A pretty good one as well.

Look at all of the pretty LIGHTS

My newfound need for candles had me trying out the method officially practiced by every single cheap Italian restaurant – using emptied bottles – and I found I quite liked it. That I had happened to buy some shit candles that left big lumps of wax on the glass already after the first candle probably helped. You want these babies to look OOOOOLLLD.

But I didn’t want that unruly wax all over the table, so had to find a tray. Outside the local deli proved to be a good place to look. A sturdy little wooden fruit box is serving as bona fide wax protection.

Jesus wept I'm turning into some sort of bored shabby chic loving old lady

Speaking about candles… this flame killer is totally one of my favourite flea market finds. Why didn’t anyone tell me putting out candles could be so much fun with this supreme tool!?

Time to say goodbye

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Framed coat rack

You're framed!

My better half Sean had a great idea what to do with one of the huge frames we originally found on the streets of Amsterdam, brought to Sweden to use in our office there, and then ended up taking to London. A coat rack. I mean, why not?

I happened to find a piece of MDF that was exactly the size of the top part of the back of the frame (down to half a centimeter – how crazy is that?) in our rubbish shed, so then I just went to the hardware store and bought a couple of brackets and some cupped hooks.

Gathered materials

The whole project only took 1.5 hour (+ another hour of tidying in the area where I put it up, previously known as The Horrible Mess), and cost me £3.50. Awesomesauce!

Materials used:

  1. Found wooden frame, 90 × 110 cm, back of frame measuring 77 across
  2. Found piece of MDF, 77 × 5 × 1.5 cm
  3. Two corner brackets
  4. Six cupped screw hooks
  5. Four screws

Tools used:

  1. Power drill/screwdriver

I simply screwed the hooks to the piece of MDF (making ure to distribute them evenly across), then screwed the MDF to the back of the frame, and then hung it on the brackets, which I screwed to the wall.

Warning! Nude knee!

(I had to lol at this picture! A) No, I’m not woodworking naked – it was just so hot and humid this day that I had to change into shorts, and I was sat on my floor so you can see my pale knee, and B) no, that isn’t a bag with a chopped-off head in the background, but a wig that had been used at our Miami Vice-themed dress-up day at the office…)

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Well, hello

I’ve just set up a craft corner in the apartment. (Oh, and I’ve moved to London! Omg, etc)

Craft corner y'all

What could be a better time to shake some life into this old blog?

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Tot ziens

This blog is taking a little break. Maybe see you later. <3

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Midnight carpenter

Some things in life tend to slow you down, de-activate you, make you sink into a slightly vegetative state. Like, say, Facebook. Other things speed you up, give you a push, kick your bottom and make you get out and do stuff. Like the evening course at Stockholm University I recently started following.

It’s about sloyd. Yes, there is such a word. No, I couldn’t believe it either. Yes, it’s fantastic. We carve and saw and talk and think and even eat homemade cake brought by one of the course-mates every time.

When I walked out of the sloyd hall a mere three hours ago, I was on fire. I knew what I wanted to make, all I needed were some boards.

And I just happened to know where to find some. Six years in Amsterdam definitely taught me how to spot a good street find.

So I took old bikey for a ride to the cheapest bar in the area – outside of which there was a huge bag of trash waiting to be picked up. A bag containing all the particle boards a silly girl could wish for on a dark and starless Tuesday night. I just felt a little bit sketchy going through them…

Finder's keeper

Oh, bikey. What would I do without you? Not carry these mtherfckers home, that’s for sure. (Seriously, a bike is such an enabler. With a bit of rope and a voordrager you can take anything home.)

Packaged and ready to ship

To not scare the living daylight out of pub visitors or evening motorists, I walked with it at first. But when I was alone on the road, I couldn’t resist biking.

Once home, I got out my carpenter’s rule and Sean’s hiking saw and got to work. Lucky I’ve got a light out on the porch! A smoking neighbour was much amused, but didn’t actually comment on the late hour. Instead, he explained he’d been thinking about making exactly the same thing to solve the same household problem. What it is? You’ll see…

An hour and a lot of arm work later I had my two boards.

To be continued.

See saw

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I made a flowerpot

…from a plastic white tiger mug I bought in a thrift store in New York last year, as my only souvenir from there.

It had a slogan (”greatest show on earth”) and a dotcom (ringling.com) printed on the bottom, and something pursuaded me to type in those letters and see what it was all about.

Circus, apparently. And here’s the white tiger for sale.

But on my window sill, the tiger is back in the jungle. In fact, he is the jungle.

Welcome to the jungle

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I worked with wood

I had two nice wine boxes (Amsterdam street find that served as moving boxes in the Big Move) and decided to make them into garden boxes. I started before we’d formally moved in, thus without access to Sean’s power tools – which meant hand drilling twelve holes in each bottom.

Chateau de wooden box

I then oiled them two times with some leftover wood oil from my Amstel crate project and had them dry for a few days. At the local food store I picked up two Dutch strawberry crates to use as stands, which I also went over with the oil to make them a bit water resistant.

A week or so later, I found a wooden flex winder that I thought would work well to stick some flower pots on. By then, I had the power tools, so I got the sander out and had a go at it:

Sladdvindan

Afterwards I was going to clean and oil it, but didn’t have much oil left and turned to Google. Turns out you can mix vinegar and cooking oil and get a pretty good 2-in-1 cleaner/oiler solution. I used clear vinegar and rapeseed oil, which was a pretty goodlooking mix… Before and after shaking:

Oil and vinegar solution

I then used it with a rug on the flex winder as well as my wine boxes to give them a tint of the yellow colour.

My wood works

Now I just need some flowers to go with them :)

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I made a playsuit

This old lady skirt had such nice ruffles… if they’d been ON A PLAYSUIT!

Ruffle it up

So I decided to just pull it up 30 cm, take off the lowest ruffle, and sew it back on as a pant-bottom.

A closer look

After unpicking the seam and doing the necessary cutting and pinning, I had to lol. The lowest ruffle now looked like something a stripper from the 80’s would wear as casual underwear.

Roflol

I actually finished (!) this project, but as usual I forgot to take a good after-picture. Oh, except this one. But to be frank, it’s really a picture of a beer glass.

Cheers!

Believe me when I say it’s pretty awesome though. As soon as I have a pic, I will post!

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We moved out again

After two months on beautiful Bastugatan, it was already time to move out again. Most of our stuff was in storage, so I decided to move the rest on the bike by myself, as Sean was in England.

Good idea.

Really.

This was the total amount of stuff I needed to move:

All the stuff

It was all going to neighbour island Kungsholmen – a distance of about 3 km, of which half is the feared bridge Västerbron (feared by bikers for its ability to tire you out, that is) (ok, it’s not really feared, but somehow I’ve tricked myself into giving it some kind of mythical status).

I figured I’d be able to do it in three goes, each of them carrying one big bag at the back, two at the front, and one fully loaded backpack. First go, about 8pm (backpack not pictured).

First go

So far, so good. I crossed Västerbron with a smile on my face, although I did have to get off and walk halfway up. When I got to the new place, I was rewarded with a pretty spectacular view of the nearby DN skyscraper.

Look at that light

I offloaded and biked back. Next go proved a little bit more difficult, running out of steady bags to transport stuff in. I set off again about 9.30 (backpack not pictured).

Second go

The evening light was still pretty spectacular though. View mid-sunset, mid-Västerbron:

Pseudo-mythical Västerbron

After that, I felt exhausted but very proud of myself. I also felt pretty much done. If I’d had a bathtub I would’ve wanted to go home and run a hot one, then relax with a biertje reading a cheap crime novel and light some candles (ish).

That, however, was not the case. I still had a load of stuff and it was rapidly getting dark… By the time I had biked all the way back and packed my bike for the third time (11pm-ish) it was pitch black outside. Again, I was wearing a huge backpack that isn’t on the picture, and that’s a wooden sewing box on the front of the bike with a black back on top that you can’t see in the dark.

Last go

I biked down Hornsgatan and over that dreaded bridge again, then offloaded all the stuff and headed back. Despite all my efforts, I still had some stuff left, but I just couldn’t do anymore that same night. I had already biked about 18k over some pretty steep hills, half of the way very heavily loaded.

Exhausted

I collapsed at midnight, only to get up at 8am to clean out the temporary apartment, and get the last stuff over to the new one around noon.

I’m too old to move on the bike. But it seems kinda fun, in hindsight.

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We saw some awesome cars

Mostly Volvos – I don’t know anything about cars but I’ve tried googling the model. Please help in the comments if you know more :)

What looks like a Volvo P220 Amazon Estate, spotted in Äppelviken:
Green Volvo Amazon

Another P220 Amazon Estate, parked in Västerås:
Cream Volvo Amazon

A shiny two-tone Ford Zephyr on the Isle of Wight:
Ford Zephyr 206E

A super tiny Fiat 500, adorning the cobbled streets of Visby:
Tiny, tiny Fiat 500

A Morgan Roadster on Södermalm:
Morgan Roadster

What I think is a Volvo 1800 or P1800 (whatever the difference is) – but not quite the same model as the one Roger Moore drove in the Saint :) … My favourite so far:
Volvo 1800

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We looked at the sky

And it never disappointed us.

View from Ivar Loparken

If I got a penny for every time I biked over Västerbron and the scenery took my breath, I'd have like 7 pennies by now

View from Skinnarviksberget

Norr Mälarstrand seen from Bastugatan

Värtaverket

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I started on a lamp

When finding an abandoned mama matryoshka in a flea market, what does one do?

All by myseeeeelf...

Try and re-purpose it into a lamp, obviously.

Shine a light in every corner of my heart

Updates will follow on this one.

Posted in Upcycling, Woodwork | 3 Comments

I started on a jacket

In my never-ending fabric stash, there’s a lot of old goodies. One of them is this lining of an 80’s denim jacket in an incredible fabric with, yep, boots. Lots of boots. And motor cycles. And motivational statements.

These boots, etc

Apparently it’s German.

Who's Otto?

If I just hemmed it, it would make a pretty awesome light jacket. I got so far as to cut, iron and pin it. This was mid July. Think I’ve sewn it yet? Eh he he. He he.

Just look at it hanging there

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I fixed the Vogue dress

…and wore it to a vintage themed party together with my Gevonden op Marktplaats-bag.

No extra room now innit

Drog te me en blomsterkvast osså

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I got my sewing gear

Transported from the storage room to the temp house all on the good old bikey. I got severely sweaty on the way thanks to the Stockholm hills – it’s not easy for an ex-Amsterdammer…

1-2-3 exhaustion

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We started a business

That’s right y’all! Moving to Stockholm to follow the dream.

Reading up

Floating sofa

A TRAY!!!

Ergonomic 1.0

Biertje o'clock

Ergonomic 2.0

As you can see, it mostly involves consuming various beverages and Tobias reclining in different positions, sometimes in combination.

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We moved in

Over the summer, we stayed in the most beautiful apartment while its original owners went on holiday. Seriously, every item in it was like it was curated. And the pretty Södermalm neighbourhood didn’t hurt the eyes either.

Yeah, you know, just casually piling magazines on old school chairs tying them into place with a sailor's rope

Your average bookshelf, really

If that's not creative cooking I don't know what is

München Brewery

Prettiest flower evah

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We went camping

To celebrate my dad’s 60th, the whole family went on a three day kayaking and camping trip in the glorious archipelago on the Swedish west coast.

I looked pretty awesome in the dark of the night with Sean’s head light on.

Badass camping

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We moved out

Yep, it really happened, after a mad last week of packing and cleaning and sending off all our stuff with a big truck which we thought was going to be driven by someone called Dolf but in the end never was. The last day I had about a million nervous breakdowns running around trying to the last minute things before key handover at 12 o’clock, and finally started crying about leaving my life for the past six years while waiting for the plane at Schiphol.

A tribute to the Netherlands and my moving on Facebook

(See what I did there? The laser eyes of the Netherlands pic goes straight into my headlight on the Facebook profile pic. It’s like a never-ending loop of light… between my eyes!)

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Holy shit…

…a lot of things have happened since I last posted anything here! I’m just gonna go through a mad weekend of updating and hopefully cover the past two months’ main events :)

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To do in Stockholm

Get lace curtains from thrift store and follow this tutorial to make them GRADIENT!!! Oh and then make a shirt from them. Rad!!!

Image from Studs and Pearls

Also, sorry I didn’t post pictures of the candy cane skirt-dress, it is truly awesome (to the point where it attracted compliments from strangers when I wore it to a bar, saying it was the prettiest dress in the place and it was a loss for Holland I was moving away. In Dutch, obviously *bragging*) but my house is a moving mess right now and no pictures will be taken until after the big move.

6 days to go! Untz untz!

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Dat is pas klasse

In the midst of all packing and giving away stuff, I decided to get some professional help fixing some of the things I can’t mend myself. Just like last time I forgot to take a before picture, but I handed in two second-hand bags with broken straps, and a true gem from the huge flea market in Noord last summer, this 70’s style pair of wooden platforms with leather straps. Here seen post mending.

The loot

The shoes only cost me a fiver at the time but were in quite a state, the rubber soles underneath were worn down to the wood, the straps were a bit too long, the insole was coming off, and most worryingly, the wood was absolutely splintered at the front.

Not so anymore. Check this out.

Seamless

Ok I realise it doesn’t look so impressive but you should’ve seen them before. Also, brand new rubber soles have been attached, insole re-glued, and straps have been successfully shortened.

In full glory

Fantastic. I just have to agree with the statement on their awesome blue-and-white no-nonsense extra-exclamation marks bags: Schoenmakers vakwerk, dat is pas klasse!(!)

Pas klasse

Or as Grolsch would put it, vakmanschap is meesterschap – fackmannaskap är mästerskap, or craftsmanship is mastery (”mastership”).

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Candy cane, part I

The same night as I went to the gym I also finished the candy cane skirt. I know, what a wonder of productivity! Funnily enough this was a project I originally started right after coming back from the gym one of the first times I went this year. History repeats itself… Gym leads to energy leads to sewing.

So yeah, candy cane skirt is done! But actually, it’s no longer a skirt by definition… It’s something much, much more exiting. Which I won’t show you until I get Sean to take some decent pictures of it.

For now I’ll just show the by-product, the candy cane waist coat I made from the bodice, by simply hemming the arm holes.

Work it baby

Close-ups

Posted in Fixing, Sewing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Back to the gym

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome me back to the world of working out. I’m back from exile and at it again, thanks to the fantabulous pep-talking of Cissi Wallin and her blog followers.

Cissi is a Swedish radio show host and media personality, and fellow Uddevallare, who recently decided to get fit after 26 years of not giving a damn. It hurts. And her blog is the funniest, most honest, most brutal exercise blog I’ve ever read.

So I decided to turn to her and ask the blog what to do about my own exercise issue: I start, and I am so excited, and I keep it up for quite some time and then… it dies. There’s a week when you’re just too busy and next week you don’t feel so well and the week after you’ve suddenly stopped exercising.

I got lots of replies. The best one, I think, was about not seeing it as an end. I haven’t stopped exercising at all. And if I haven’t, why am I not going to the gym anymore? So I did just that. I just went. I felt like a million euros right before walking out the door, with my newfound decisiveness.

Take on me....

Please note the photo above depicts me actually flexing my biceps as hard as I can. They are, whaddayacallit, not very pronounced.

As I walked in through the gym doors, I saw the ‘welcome back’ sign meant for those exiting the premises as a heartfelt welcome, and the smell I once dreaded of fresh sweat, rubber and metal was like a summer breeze to my nostrils.

An hour later on the way home I was feeling less like a born-again fundamentalist and more like ‘holy shit’. In the good way.

Crazy eyes

And that good feeling lasted all through the night and made me step out the door with a big grin on my face the morning after, despite it raining cats and dogs.

Happy happy joy joy

That sweet, sweet pain in my abdominal muscles lasted even longer; two days and counting.

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And repeat

Had an another go at the bleach-vinegar-sunshine routine for the dress. I hung it (and the table runner I threw in with it) to dry on the terrace, and keeping the Amsterdam wind in mind, I tied the rope between the drainpipe and our solid iron parasol stand, which I then secured with a solid iron flower pot.

Let the sunshine, leeeet the sunshine...

Which proved to be a lucky decision, because when I left home for work, they were already flapping about in the wind like unblessed spirits on speed:

Spöket Laban

Boo!

Posted in Fixing | 2 Comments

Ice-cream shirt in the park

Beyond Retro Sweden has a competition where they are giving away summery tulle skirts to those who post the best outfit of the day photos with their favourite Beyond Retro purchase. (Hey, Imma let you finish but this might be the best outfit post of all times. Of all times!)

So here’s me having lunch in Vondelpark today *om nom nom*, trying my bestest not to pull a funny face when being photographed. I’m wearing a Beyond Retro shirt which always makes me think of ice-cream because of its colours… any other Swedes remembering those triple-flavour BigPacks? (pronounced in your best Swenglish, of course: bigg puck).

Om nom nom

…and after that picture I found myself phyiscally unable to be serious anymore.

Strike a pose

The shorts are actually cutoffs from the first pair of jeans I bought after I moved away from home (hello 2004!), and the rest (shoes, tights, and top you can’t see under the shirt) is from a swapping party I had right before Queensday, the annual Dutch mayhem-turned-flea-market-turned-giant street party.

Jumping the fence

On that note – clothes swapping, not Queensday – or climbing fences unable to hold your weight in the middle of Vondelpark in broad daylight, for that matter – I have decided to try and entirely avoid new clothes this year, so Beyond Retro fits in pretty nicely in that picture. I’m quite looking forward to moving to Sweden shopping-wise, there are so many nice second hand places.

Hells yeah

K thx bye *666*

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Step 3

Would you believe it, that oxygen bleach + white vinegar + sunshine formula actually worked. Check out the dress now:

More white, less yellow

It’s just a tad bit offwhite, as opposed to being the colour of old people’s teeth. I might just repeat this a couple more times and it’ll hurt your eyes. Oh, and then it was the shoulder straps…

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Awesome dress from retro pillowcase

This is a 30 min dress from a pillowcase. The creator found a tutorial from 1992 that she’d once tried to talk her mum into letting her make with no luck, and decided to have another go two decades later.

Now here is my challenge: Can I make a version of this dress following fundamentally the same pattern and have it (1) Not look like a pillowcase (2) be a dress a 33-year-old, not a 15-year-old will want to wear (3) prove my mom wrong?

And so she did. I’m officially impressed like hell:

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  • Hello world

    My name is Malin. That's like marlin without the R.

    I used to live on a boat on stilts in an Amsterdam canal with my bearded boyfriend and a nesting duck.

    Then I brought the Beard to Stockholm, and eight months later he brought me over to the UK.

    I like breaking and making things.

  • From my magic drawer

    I have a little tumblr where I collect random things that catch my attention on the intrawebz.

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