Category Archives: My Projects

Studio projects NOT connected to Ebba

Easter, the weekend we barely survived

This is looking back a bit, but today and yesterday–when my visiting mother in law and I have taken turns feeling icky and dealing with the kids, and Eric has helped and given up some precious hours of writing time to do so–I’m having flashbacks.

I had glorious plans for making Easter a magical holiday for our family this year.  I was going to roast a leg of lamb and invite Eric’s colleagues for dinner; I was going to make Everett an Easter basket and fill it with a stuffed bunny made from the rest of the old sweater scraps, some sweet little sugar cookies decorated just for him, and some hard-boiled eggs died with all-natural homemade food dyes; I was going to make him overalls and finish his lopapeysa in time to wear both to church on Easter Sunday; and I was going to invite playgroup friends over for an Easter egg hunt (where? our non-existent yard? why yes, this is clearly a total fantasy after all). But we moved the weekend before, then Eric got sick, and the weather was rainy and cold and utterly miserable, then I got sick but still had to entertain a toddler, and everything was closed because they take a 5-day holiday here in Iceland.  So this is about all we managed: The Easter basket got made but I had no “grass” so used poly-fil (BAD idea); the sugar cookies got made then I realized I had no food coloring to make icing so they’re plain; and I did make it to Tiger for some new crayons and the fancy candy store for some special treats.  No eggs were boiled NOR dyed.

Fabric basket, inspired by these by GoodWishesQuilts on Etsy. Overalls made from the same fabric will appear in a future post:)

You can see here the banner I made.  A couple weeks out, I did manage to make several of these and write some letters to send to friends at home and in Europe.  A few of them did actually make it in time for Easter.

I made these banners very simple: watercolor wash in pastels over several sheets of heavy watercolor paper; cut out mini triangles (each only about 2 inches max from base to point), then used darker watercolor to write Gleđilega Páska (Happy Easter in Icelandic). Strung together with Istex Einband lace weight lopi yarn.

 The lopapeysa? finished except for the zipper, which made it in by the following Wednesday (pictures forthcoming, though he is wearing it in that first pic).  Overalls?  HA! eventually, but not even close to Easter.  Dinner? Chicken soup for the 3rd night in a row as we were all feeling poorly.  Church?  Got dressed and out the door, a valiant effort, but it was too late to get there in time.  Egg hunt? Like I said, complete fantasy.

We really tried to put on our tough-guy faces and pretend to enjoy Easter, but we were really glad when it was all over.  Within a few days, Iceland graced us with beautiful sunny weather that has held on more or less ever since, and for that we are EXTREMELY grateful.

Have you ever had high hopes for a holiday or birthday that just went totally pear-shaped?  This is so not my first, and probably not my last, and sharing these stories can give us all a good laugh and reinforce that “E” for effort.

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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in At Home, My Projects


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I took an unintentional 3.5 month hiatus from blogging and quite a bit has changed since I last posted, like, let’s see: our home, the weather, the number of people in our family, the overall shape of my body, amount of sunlight in each day. . . I have lots of thoughts, pictures, news, and on and on to share, but for now, here are some highlights:

April 1-we moved from 107 to 101 Reykjavik, to an awesome flat facing the Tjorn in the center of town.  It was nice being next to Laugardalur park, but I’m much happier downtown where I don’t have to take the bus to get anywhere.

April-May, sometime–it stopped getting dark, at all, ever.

May 7th–Baby girl enters the world!!  I really look forward to sharing her insane birth story and a few precious pictures in an upcoming post:)

May 8-June 2–first our friend Kara visits, then my mom, then my sister!  Several fun day trips with everyone to other fantastically beautiful parts of this country

June–settling into life with two kids, fortunately with the help of some gorgeous weather!  Lots of time spent at the playground, in the kitchen, at playgroups, and the library.

Projects finished since March 13–Everett’s sweater (ALMOST in time for Easter), E’s Easter basket (now toy storage), easter garlands and letters for friends back home, E’s overalls, knit baby blanket, tiny baby sweater and matching hat, tote bag for a friend’s birthday, fathers’ day present.

In other news: a new addiction to Pinterest (something easily explored one-handed and while nursing or bouncing a fussy baby) has led to a growing project list and several yummy kitchen experiments.

Pictures and links to all patterns, tutorials, and recipes forthcoming!

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in At Home, My Projects, Travel


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Believe it or not, in addition to the crazy amounts of fabric I brought with me, I also brought some old sweaters that I have no intention of wearing, but rather cutting up into bits for various projects.  How did I have room for this in our limited baggage allowance?  Here’s a secret–IcelandAir allows TWO free bags, so I brought clothes in one, my sewing machine in another, and stuffed fabric and yarn into every possible little crevice available.  I knew I wanted to make Everett some sweater pants, because I had a few great old sweaters perfect for this AND with the idea that something warm but snugly-fitting would be perfect under snow pants.  And he wears snow pants almost every day, even if there’s no snow, because it’s cold and there’s always at least dampness on the ground and he falls over a lot.  Did I mention that we go outside EVERY DAY?  It’s the only way to ensure he will both nap and sleep through the night (that’s right folks, THROUGH THE NIGHT, as in, at least for the next two months, I get a full nights sleep most nights–totally worth going outside even in ridiculous Icelandic weather)

But I digress:)  I won’t bother trying to do a tutorial for these because there are about a million already out there–here’s one that looks about like what I did, but all you have to do is google it to get several versions.  I will say, though, that the rise on these did not end up as deep as I would have liked because I did a pretty long inseam for my tall little toddler, so they’re kinda low-riders.  I also added an extra panel in the back of two pairs, just to make sure the diaper would fit inside.  Otherwise, these were quick and dirty, no frills, not even CLOSE to neat seams, and what I would give for a serger to make them a little more durable!  Zig-zag stitch worked ok though.
I was so anxious to get started one night that I didn’t even take a picture of the green sleeves before they became pants!  Then, of course, it took at least two weeks before the rest got done as I lost a little bit of steam:)
An old J.Crew sweater, the rest of which I used for the lion snuggly way back last spring.
These did have an extra panel in the back, but didn’t really need it.

 I love these, though, check out the waistband–look kinda funny?  Yeah, I totally sewed the elastic casing inside-out.  When will I learn?  DON’T SEW WHEN VERY TIRED!!  I just left it, b/c they work.
Sorry for the darkish picture but you can clearly see the extra back panel here; these are thinner cotton, navy stripe on white, so adorable and comfy.
 All of these work perfectly under snow pants as well as for every day wear, and as cozy pi’s.  I kinda want some.


Posted by on March 13, 2012 in My Projects


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Things I’ve been doing instead of blogging. . .

This 30-weeks-pregnant+toddler combination is totally kicking my butt–I don’t wanna whine TOO much, but if you can put up with just a little bit then I’ll tell you that between leg cramps every morning, a few flights of stairs for every outing, multiple outings to wear Everett out so he’ll sleep, not to mention some other pregnancy-related aches and pains that I really don’t need to go into here, this body of mine is tired!  So, I have to use my time wisely, which usually means that Everett’s nap time is my nap time, or I won’t make it through the day.  But with less house and less stuff to manage (loving it!) I actually do have the option to do some things I love with a little spare time.  Like sewing and knitting and making birthday presents, yay!  I’ve got a few projects to share with you, so I’ll stretch them out over a couple of posts.

First Up: Easiest Ever Bibs for the Very Messy Boy


  • Laminated cotton, oilcloth, or other vinyl fabric (I used half a meter of 54″ wide fabric to make 4 bibs)
  • Newspaper or other large paper (parchment/baking paper and newsprint work well too) to make your pattern
  • Sewing machine and a non-stick teflon foot–important for keeping the slippery fabric from skipping or sticking, I found one for about $5 online and trust me, you want one.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pinking shears (optional)

I found some great laminated cotton fabric at a home goods store near us, bought a meter, and had plenty to make 4 of these and will make myself an apron with the rest. (and sorry for the odd lighting, I have this light that’s great to work by, not so great for taking lovely pretty pictures)

First, create your pattern: trace an existing bib, or make one up–draw desired shape onto your paper (fold paper in half and just draw half of it!), cut it out, try it on your kid and adjust.  Then trace your pattern directly onto the back of the fabric with just a regular old pencil and cut it out.  (Rae also has a very basic printable bib pattern here, which I used last spring to make these, but this time I wanted something wider and rounder, personally).

The only other piece you’ll need is the bottom pocket, which you can make just by tracing the bottom portion of the whole-bib piece–from the bottom to about 3″ up.  Trace and cut from fabric.  Take the pocket piece and sew a straight seam across the top flat edge, then cut seam allowance (only about 1/4″ at most) with pinking shears.

Once your pocket piece is ready, line up its bottom edge with the bottom edge of the whole-bib piece and use scotch or masking tape to hold it in place (I just put a couple small pieces along the top flat edge, not near where the seam will be b/c I didn’t want to pick the tape out of the stitches). Sew a straight-stitch seam around the whole bib, again with a very small seam allowance, then cut with pinking shears (optional, but a pinked edge covers a multitude of sewing sins and can make something this simple look just a little more finished). Attach snaps or velcro (black velcro is all I had!) at the neck pieces and you’re done!

I confess to altering the shape of my bib after putting the first one onto the boy–made it a little longer and narrower–before I made the three pictured here. They work great and are both wipeable and washable!

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Posted by on March 11, 2012 in At Home, My Projects, Tutorial


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Heima, Part 1

This flat has its issues, to be sure (bad kitchen appliances, ugly floor, thin walls), but I also feel like we lucked out with it in so many ways.  I thought I’d do a series of posts of just us, or our things, “at home” here.  This will only be home until April 1st when we move to a flat in the city center.  The BEST thing about this flat, I think, is the giant window in the living room, and this afternoon while Everett napped, I was removing layers as the sun beat in and warmed up the place (despite rather cold temperatures outside).  It also made taking pictures quite fun, so here are just a few:

Knitting and tea with the BBC World Service while child sleeps–doesn’t get much better.

The morning, however, was not quite so pleasant–cold and windy walk to the immigration office where they were less than helpful–so it was definitely a 2-teabag kind of afternoon.

Yep, my yarn is slightly tangled. Thank you Everett.  (btw, I can’t reveal the nature of this project just in case the intended recipient is reading.  Will show once finished and received:)

I was really enjoying these shadows.

P.S.  “heima” is the Icelandic word for home.  It also happens to be the title of a series of concerts and subsequent film by the famous band Sigur Ròs.  If you like them, or are just into music, check out this website that’s full of Icelandic bands that are NOT Sigur Ròs.

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in At Home, My Projects


At Long Last: Ebba Returns with a Giveaway!

So I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but I’ve put a few things back into my etsy shop and I’m going to take part in at least one craft fair this holiday season.  The shop is not totally full, but at least I have a little presence, which I am very excited about.  In honor of this, I’ve got a giveaway for you–one of my Embroidermini Embroidery Starter Kits!  I designed these little kits last year and still have several in stock.  They’re pretty fun–mini embroidery kits all wrapped up in a CD case!

Each kit includes:

  • a booklet of basic stitches and ideas for “doodling” with thread, hand-illustrated by me
  • 6 colors of wool embroidery thread
  • 2 embroidery needles
  • 1 4″ wood embroidery hoop
  • 2 squares of fine linen embroidery fabric

Giveaway Rules

  • The giveaway is for ONE kit
  • Please leave a comment on this post AND tell at least one friend about the giveaway and my newly re-opened shop.  In your comment, just let me know how you did this (you don’t have to link to anything unless you want to, just let me know if you emailed someone, put it on facebook or on your own blog)
  • That’s it!  This is open to everyone, I’m happy to ship internationally.
  • Comments close on Sunday at midnight, central time, I’ll choose a winner Monday afternoon/evening (you know, whenever the little one takes a nap and I can get my act together).  The winner will also be notified by email.

I need some help with some small things (as you will surely notice either here or in my etsy shop or both).  I don’t have any good software on my computer since the hard drive got wiped back in May, and I’m pretty lame with it all anyway.  SO, anyone interested in trading their services for goods, drop me a line at ebbahandmade (at) gmail (dot) com.  Thanks!


Posted by on November 3, 2011 in All things Ebba, Giveaway, My Projects


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Belated 1st Birthday

So I confess, life back in St. Louis hardly seems blog-worthy these days.  Eric teaches two days a week, during which he has our only car, and keeps a pretty rigorous research and writing schedule the other three-to-four days, so mostly I hang out with Everett, try to keep the place liveable amongst a mess of stuff that has been displaced from the lowest shelves, and try to find things to keep both of us occupied, inside or outside the house.  This does not often include world-class museums, monuments, or even shopping that is not necessary for survival.  And it rarely leaves time anymore for creative endeavors.  Eric’s mom was visiting us for awhile back in September, which gave me some extra time, and planning and preparing for Everett’s first birthday party–which we held a week and a half after his actual birthday–has been my main creative outlet recently.  I thought it would be fun to have a travel-themed party, given the fact that Everett spent more of his first year outside of the U.S. than here, so we had some travel themed activities, favors, and food from each country we visited.  Both sets of grandparents were here, as well as my brother, and we had an absolutely perfect day for the outdoor affair.  I think it was a total success!

Little sketchbooks made to look like passports ("PASSPORT" is stamped in gold on them but it was pretty hard to see), along with stickers that looked like passport stamps

Our favor boxes, meant to look kinda like suitcases, with some luggage tags made from leftover oilcloth scraps--tutorial anyone? They were super easy to make! Inside were European candies (from World Market) and space for their activities like. . .

these little wooden airplanes from Oriental Trading Co., easily "painted" with crayola markers!

Some decor--simple flags cut from an old U.S. road atlas and sewn together at the top--also super easy!

The cake--maple walnut with maple cream cheese icing--to represent Canada (along with the moose finger-puppet-turned-cake-topper)

The birthday boy with his first taste of cake

Our earliest guests enjoying themselves--eventually the backyard was full of toddlers and older sibblings and parents and it was fantastic!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of the food table, I was too busy trying to get the food finished and out and keeping cool or warm!  But we had dutch pannekoeken (pancakes, a lot like crepes) with nutella and other spreads, scones with jam and cream mini steak and ale pies, chips (fries) with malt vinegar (English style) and mayonaise (Dutch style), salad with our favorite L’Abri recipe dressing, and Icelandic skyr (yogurt) that I managed to find at Whole Foods.

Everett opened presents with just family after everyone else had left, at which point he was totally overwhelmed and a bit glassy-eyed so the pictures are more amusing than adorable, but he got lots of good stuff, and we are grateful for lots of new toys to keep him occupied (we had painfully few after all the traveling!)

I am hoping to participate in a couple of craft shows coming up, and I also want to add a few things to my currently inactive etsy shop, so keep an eye out for a possible giveaway as I attempt to draw more attention to myself:)


Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Fun with Everett, My Projects


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