Monday, November 10, 2008

Wren / Winterkoning

Click here to take a better look at this print.

The newest addition to the MirthQuake Birds collection is The Wren. I'd only just hung some nets of peanuts in the garden, when our little patch of land of 6m x 8m was crowded with little bird-critters. On the edge of the fence there was a small grey-brown thing with that typical straight tail sticking in the air. A wren. I am sure he was a little disappointing that all the fuss was about peanuts, but soon he found some snacks of his own in between the timber of the fence.
This is his story:This little ADD birdie is such a cutie. He's like a mouse with wings. He wanted insects but he found berries. Any blackbird would be more than pleased but he wanted INSECTS! But fret not, he's ready to hop to the next branch. No one is quicker than he is. If you see him, he's already gone. And you'll think you just saw a mouse with wings. I would like to cuddle him, but I don't think he will survive.

De nieuwste aanwinst van de MirthQuake Vogels collectie is de Winterkoning. Ik had nog maar net pinda's en lekkers in de tuin opgehangen of ons lapje grond van 6m x 8m zat vol met klein vogel gespuis. Op de rand van de schutting zat iets kleins grijs/bruins met het onmiskenbare kleine staartje dat in de lucht stak. Een winterkoninkje. Hij zal wel een beetje teleurgesteld zijn dat al de commotie om pinda's ging, maar tussen de planken van de schutting heeft hij vast wel iets lekkers gevonden.
Dit is zijn verhaaltje: Dit kleine ADHD vogeltje is een schatje. Het is net een muisje met vleugels. Hij was op zoek naar insecten maar vond bessen. Iedere merel zou meer dan dankbaar zijn, maar hij was op zoek naar INSECTEN. Maak je geen zorgen hoor, hij staat klaar om naar de volgende tak te hupsen. Niemand is sneller dan hij. Als je hem ziet is ' ie alweer weg. En dan denk je waarschijnlijk dat je net een muis met vleugels gezien hebt. Ik zou 'm graag willen knuffelen, maar ik denk niet dat hij dat overleeft.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We have a Winner!

Alweer meer dan een maand geleden stond ik met mijn vogels voor het eerst op een kunstmarkt. Tijdens het textielweekend heb ik mijn vogel-items voor het eerst gepresenteerd. Ik heb een loting gehouden onder de mensen die zich inschreven voor de mailinglist vanaf de kunstmarkt tot nu toe, en daar een winnaar uit getrokken.

De gelukkige winnaar is mevrouw H. Van Deijck! Zij krijgt een vogelpakket ter waarde van 30 euro bestaande uit onder andere postkaarten en buttons. Van harte gefeliciteerd!

Already over a month ago I presented my birds for the first time on a fair at the tilburg Textiel Weekend. I organised a free drawing. Everyone could leave their business cards or e-mail address and I would draw a winner. The happy winner is Mme H. Van Deijck. She will receive a bird goodie bag with 30 euro worth of goodies like cards and buttons. Congratulations!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TAG You're it!!

WOW I've been tagged..twice. And of course I had no idea what it meant, so fleurfatale explained it to me. These things... I don't know who comes up with them, but I like them.

My taggers were sweet Eve of Creations by Eve. You can read her answers to these questions here. And check out her Etsy shop:
And Leina Neima of see her answers here

Here are the rules of being tagged:
Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are the 7 weird and random facts about me!

7 facts:

1.When my boyfriend told his friend he was in love with me his friend said" What?! She's weird!"
2.I write for a fashion magazine, under a false name.
3.I think men are the best and worst in this world. Women are the most beautiful.
4.I dream of Canada's nature nearly every day.
5.I still miss my horse from since I was 16.
6.If I don't have cold hands, I am probably ill.
7.I am always kind to people who are kind to me, if not I am merciless bwhahahahaha.

These are the people I am going to tag because they are so friggin' talented:
Genuine article:
Too Aquarius:


As you could read here I had bought some fabrics via Etsy. Not all of them turned out the way they looked in the picture so I've added one more that yet has to arrive from the US. Wonderful seller Stay Gold- Handmade had a special offer and I couldn't resist the Martini fabric by Amy Butler. So adding that to this bunch gives me a great set of chairs:

Imagine this in the bright room on the back of our house with its seaweed coloured walls. Delicious!

So I had this fabric in my house for nearly 2 months now, and this friday friends are coming over for dinner. This would be a good motivation to get those chairs done. I will do this in 3 steps, the stripping, the painting and the upholstering.
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to convert an old chair to a new one. It isn't hard, as long as you prepare prepare and prepare.

What you need for the stripping
Sanding paper very coarse and very smooth.
Sanding machine is great,
Knife of some sort,
a scredriver to save you fingernails,
a wood file, different sizes and shapes are recommended.
Something to scratch paint off wood, I have this triangle shaped thing.
I have 6 chairs, 4 of which I have re done before, but lost interest in, they needed a change. In our new house I want a new mood and feel, so they all had to be stripped down. But the problem then is, do they look the same underneath that paint, or did the white paint colour the wood slightly different than the old chairs?

Here they are, darn ugly chairs huh? The left one is as they were made in the late 80s. And the one on the right is how I made them in 2003. Not bad, but I would like a change.
I don't like white wash, especially in such a dirty salmon-y colour. I probably can't remove all of it, but it won't look as bad with the new paint on later. Now you have to sand them down. First with a coarse type of paper and then with a smooth paper. With the coarse paper you can work very quickly but you damage the wood more, so that won't look good with paint on it. As you can see below, left is the first round of sanding, and the right is the last round of sanding, making it smooth and soft. The little carvings you need to do by hand and with the help of a small file. I have to do the chairs that are painted with thick white paint twice because there's 2 layers of paint in them and they are very hard to scrape out. Now you know why it took me so long to write this tutorial.

Now to make the chairs look older I am going to sand away any sharp edges and corners, so they look like they've had to withstand something. Also this makes the painting easier because the paint slides along the corners instead of being held back by the corners.

I remove all the trims and fabric, but NOT the original fabric on the seating. why not? Well if I do, I don't know what I am going to find. And if the fabric is still ok, it is safer to let it sit where it is and it will come in handy. If you want to remove the fabric too, you have to take half the chair apart, because with most chairs the fabric is tucked behind the wood. Reconstructing the chairs is not what I had in mind. This bit here is where the dust of all those years stays. So I am taking that off too, placing a new piece of cloth here is a piece of cake with a tagger so fret not.

Now they are stripped!!

See the next step here.

::TUTORIAL:: New old dining table chairs STEP 2

So now we've finished step one we're going to focus on painting.

First what you do is check everything once more. Remember, for a good covering paint, you need to remove all paint. I am going to paint the chairs with a coloured varnish or stain. The colour must match the colour of our table. So I picked an oak colour. You can get all kinds of colours.

The left over paint will not be fully covered in this light stain. But I like that, because it gives you an old look.
Another thing, if you want to consolidate your chairs because they are not sturdy anymore, this is the time. I drilled holes in the places where the pieces of wood connect. And I placed 2 wooden plugs in there to stop the friction of the chair when you sit on it. Make sure there are 2 wooden plugs there, and not one, that won't stop the joint from moving. With a file and sanding paper you can easily shape the plugs.

I turn the chairs upside down and paint everything, even under the chair. If the wood will expand and shrink still, it will do it less if all is painted.

I paint 3 thin layers, and then I have a nearly perfect match with our dining table. The thinner the better, it dries easily and it won't leave dark 'teardrops' of paint.

At this point I am going to cover the bottom with cotton sheeting. Pre-iron the sheeting because cotton shrinking is strong enough to pull your chair apart. I use a small nailgun to secure the cotton over the bottom. Be careful with this tool. I have a very light weight version, which does the trick perfectly well. But if you have something bigger and electric, I would advise you to google "nail gun accident" and you will see that this is not a toy.

First place the sheeting over the bottom, secure the middle of each side and then work your way to the corners, folding the cotton as you go.

You don't have to do this very tightly. I always use a hammer to ram the nails in a little further. I'd hate it if my guest would hurt themselves sitting down at my table.

The last step can be seen here.

:::TUTORIAL::: New old dining table chairs. STEP 3

The last and best step, the upholstering. As I said before I bought some Amy Butler, Heather Bailey and Sandi Henderson's fabrics on Etsy. But they are very light weight. And I wouldn't recommend them being used as they are. I have enough fabric to re do the chairs in 4 years, and I probably want new fabrics then. but if you want something to last for a decade make sure you choose very sturdy fabric. I consolidate my fabric with an extra layer of cotton.

What I do first is cut the cotton in the right width and length. I then place it over the area and pin the cotton on the old fabric(now it comes in handy) With a pencil or pen with soluable ink I mark the edges and cut them. I now have the right shape. I cut the shape out of the printed top fabric an iron everything very hot!!! I want as much shrink out of there are possible. you might think it is better to iron the fabric when it's on the chair, so it fits on there tighter, but I tell you, it leaves ruching at the sides.
All straight edges are glued with a glue gun. Be careful again, I burnt my fingers a couple of times, it is HOT. The glue dries quite fast so if you do parts of 30cm you have just enough time to push the fabric in the glue so the fabric covers the old fabric tighlty without folds. Don't do it too tightly or your seating will end up looking flat and stressed out!
Work your way op to the corners and stop there so there is a small corner of the fabric sticking out. as you see below.
This fold is the spot where you place the top fabric on. You pin the top fabric on here and then glue the sides to the lower layer of fabric. By now that layer is dry and will hold everything together with the chair. When you've worked your way around the chair you go back to these fold in the corner and flip them back and glue them.

Because we didn't take the chair apart and we took this project on the easy way, we now have a frayed fabric edge which needs to be covered with trim or tape. I chose an off-white colour because I have 6 different fabrics and I want to give it some cohesion this way. Make sure the trim you choose is a little flexible. Fabric strips are not recommended because they will form a fold in the rounded corners. As you can see in the picture below you need the trim to follow the shape of the chair a little.

I start at a point that is least in plain sight and I place a big drop of glue there. I place my trim edge in it to prevent it from fraying. The glue will dry and capture all threads of the trim.

This spot is the finish too, and again I cover the end of the trim in glue to prevent it from fraying.
When it's dry you can cut away some of the glue if there's too much on it.
RIGHT, now we've done all 3 segments of the chair. And the bottom of the legs of the chairs need some lovin'. I bought felt bottoms for this with a nail attached to it. I have to drill a hole for them, otherwise you will hit the nail through the plastic and the felt instead of the wood. This hole should be slightly smaller than the nail so it gets squeezed in and won't fall out. If it does fall out, just put a drop of glue around the bottom of the chair's leg and press the nail back in.

Now the chairs are finished and ready for our dinner with friends!

If you have questions, feel free to ask me!

See step 1

See step 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Five happy birds

Vandaag kreeg ik een e-mail waar ik helemaal gelukkig van werd. Hij kwam van Molly en Brigit die mijn stand bezochten op de Craftymarkt. Ze kochten 5 van mijn vogeltjes op houten board, en vandaag kreeg ik een e-mail met een foto van de 5 geluksvogels! Ze hebben een warm thuis gevonden en een prominente plaats gekregen op de muur. Fantastisch toch?!
Heel erg bedankt Molly en Brigit!!!
Today I got an e-mail that made me smile. It was from Molly and Brigit, who visited my table on the craftymarkt. They bought five of my birds on wooden board. Today they let me know that the birds found a warm new home and a prominent spot on the wall.
There they are, the five of them looking happy together! Isn't that great?!

Thanks so much Molly and Brigit!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crafty Fair

It was cold on Saturday and rainy and cold on sunday, but MirthQuake survived her first craftshow! And with success too. It was a great way not only to make some sales but also to hear what people liked about my products. Some feedback is so important, especially when you're just starting out. I received a lot of compliments, met a lot of very nice and talented other artists: , , The Poptasi people were fantastic for giving me their table on a perfect spot where people could see me very well, out of the wind and rain on sunday-Thanks SO much. Oh and I shouldn't forget the girls next to us on saturday who gave us hot chocolate with rum, good job! Also a big thank you should go out to Ester who gave us hot tea, a warm bed and a good breakfast.

Not only the fair was great, the museum itself is a very interesting place to visit. I can certainly recommend it. If you like " How do they do it" on Discovery, you'll love this. You get to see how tablecloths, carpets, gloves and whatnot are made. This weekend there were all kinds of workshops too because of "Textielweekend" but also on a normal day it is definately worth your time. Check

A photo impression can be seen here
My pictures will follow soon. A list of artists who were present can be seen here.


Het was koud zaterdag, en regenachtig en koud op zondag, maar MirthQuake heeft haar eerste kunstmarkt overleefd! ..En met succes. Het was een nuttig uitstapje niet alleen vanwege de verkopen, maar vooral om gezien te worden. Het is fijn om reacties te horen op mijn werk, al helemaal als je nog maar net begint. Ik heb een hoop complimenten gekregen en dat was het allemaal meer dan waard. Ik heb een hoop aardige getalenteerde mensen ontmoet waaronder: , , De mensen van Poptasi zijn o aardig geweest om ons hun tafel te geven die uit de wind en regen stond aan het begin van de markt. Enorm bedankt daarvoor! Oh en de meiden naast ons op zaterdag die een dansfeest aan het promoten waren: bedankt voor de chocolademelk met rum!!

En een enorm warm dankjewel voor Ester die ons voorzag van warme thee, een warm bed en een heerlijk ontbijt.

De markt zelf was niet alleen leuk, het museum zelf is ook een aanrader.
Als je houdt van "How do they do it" op Discovery channel, dan vind je dit ook leuk. Sowieso zullen creatieven het museum leuk vinden. Check
Een foto impressie:here Mijn foto's volgen binnenkort. De deelnemers lijst kun je here zien.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Books Make You Smarter

My bank account is dried up now, but I have them! My 6 lovely booklets that I will hopefully be able to sell at the craft show. Again the empire expands a little, and I hope they will find new owners soon.
I've made 6 different ones, 5 in English and 1 in Dutch because it's for children:
-Dutch Best Friends Booklet
-Best Friends Booklet
-Recipes Booklet
-Addresses Booklet
-Travel Journal
-Things to do today/ Sketchbooklet
I will be showing them on Etsy one by one, and they will all be present at the Crafty Markt of SoooHappy in honour of the Textielweekend in Tilburg on October 4 and 5!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Birds who love Bags.

I've been thinking lately, what if your walls are filled and you do like my birds, but aren't into home decor for the time being... Wouldn't you like to have something else with my birds? I already have the buttons, but I noticed there's only a certain audience for that. And I want to broaden my target group. So I thought, what about pendants? So made some that I will be listing shortly.

On the more practical side I embellished some bags with my birds.
The bags measure width: 39cm/15.25inch height: 42cm/16.5inch and can be folded and kept in your own handbag for express shopping and it's very environmentally conscious to decline the plastic bag and pop this bag out of your handbag for your magazines, books and anything really.

I am very happy with them. It sort of expands the MirthQuake empire a little!
Soon there will be calenders, books, notepads and other papergoods and accessories to pick from, decorated with my birds.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Seagull standing in the wind.

Finally! Aafter working with my laptop on the campsite while boyfriend was cycling, I made the first outlines of my Seagull, and today I have finished it at home. I am too impatient to wait till tomorrow to show it only on etsy, so I am presenting him on here first.
I've tried to make a nice background for him, but I liked the idea of him being on the beach where he belongs. So I pasted him on a photo I made of the beach.
I like the illustration-photograph mix.

This is his story:
All the tourists have gone. Finally time to stand in the wind on the beach. It is HIS beach. No matter what anyone else might think. Well, our beach, because he's not alone. There are hundreds of family members, but they don't come close. He had his seafood dinner taken away from him when he was a chick, but no more! And the others they know it. Always the sweet one. Worked fine with the ladies, but after a while you just get hungry. So now he has his belly filled and that's good because the winter is coming. And he loves that. Standing in the cold wind overlooking the sea with a full stomach. Who needs more?
Tomorrow I will place him on Etsy.

Seagulls and Sanderlings

When I was little we went to Normandy a couple of times. I love the tides of the sea, the seagulls and the beauty of the land. But since I was 8 or 9 I never went there again for some reason. When I was 18 it wasn't the place where you would go to party and meet others. But now because we only had a week to spare, we went to Auberville. And it was lovely, The area next to our mobile home was crowded with goldfinches, there was a Kestrel too, i've made 2 giga bytes of pictures.
Though we only set out get our hair blown in the wind and walk in the shallow seawater, we saw much more. Below are Sanderlings, they looked a little like they belonged to the seagull. They looked after themselves by picking up things in the shallow water and running away when a large wave would chase them. When I came too close they just flew away. It was a really cute sight. They were hopping in the water and squeeking like chicken-chicks do. We tried to feed them mussels but they weren't up for that I think. Just little shrimps. Or they just didn't trust us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Leggy Robin

Let me introduce you the Robin, the latest addition to the MirthQuake bird family.
She was supposed to be the entry of the weekly challenge of the European Street Team. But I couldn't finish her in time. So now I finished her and I'll let her stand on her own 2 feet.

This English Robin is a bit of a posh girl. She won't admit it, but she doesn't hang out with anyone outside her approved social circle. Oh of course she's friendly to everyone she meets. But she won't think twice about dating someone she considers even a little beneath her class. But with those legs, fending off suitors is a day time job!

I am quite happy with how she turned out. Classy but feisty.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nearly done! Iceblue walls

No time to create unfortunately- Boyfriend has 2 weeks off to finish the house up a bit more. So I am dedicating my time to the house instead of crafting. We're so close now. But it gets harder and harder to doo those last chores that makes a house complete. This is the way the living room looked before: And this is what we've made so far:
We still need some art on the walls and a carpet. But the main ingredients are there! The way the walls are done combined with the paint gives the walls a cloudy lighting effect. We are very happy with it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dull colours but never boring!

to contribute to the European Street Team Blog I made this colour forecast. I included a few of the many fantastic items that our team has.

We’re on the verge or a season change. Here in the Netherlands it seems to have taken off already. The days are shortening and the weather is looking dim.
But every year around this time, when the sad feeling of another summer that has passed, I get an itch. It usually takes a month to settle and then I know; fall is going to be great! All those beautiful hues and shades are back. Lilac, black and shades o’ grey! I've chosen 2 important colours. After a few smart buys you can look up-to-date.

A very important one that’s going to be hot: Celadon. It originates from Korean pottery. Read about it here.
It’s somewhere inbetween minty grey with a touch of aqua. Get as close as you can in shades of grey-aqua or grey-mint. It’s a fresh light colour that softly transfers you from summer to fall. It makes the transition less hard to cope with for some of us. And with these items, it's going to be quite a fall.

by Star of the East

by tijusai

by chichiboulie

Another important colour that's on its way is peach. Again the dull version of Peach.
Not the one we wore in the 80's. This type of peach has a little more character. Are you a little scared of looking like you did in the 80's with peach? Fret not, I am not suggesting a spandex minidress. Turn peach into that finishing touch with these items: by pamelaangus

by antigoni

by Dina Fragola

by annarubyking

by iragrant

by kraplap

Go wild with dull colours of these wonderful items!

See you!



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