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Fabric t-shirt necklace collection

Knotting fabric yarns has become my favorite hobby to do when watching a film or a series. Sometimes I do also when listening to the radio. Starting in 2012 I have been making hundreds and hundreds of necklaces, short and long, knotted and braided, or just multi strands. Remnants can be cotton, stretchy linen, acrylic, microfiber so I enjoy the nuances and touching.

I was so excited when I sold the first one. It was during a Christmas market and it was a Christmas present for a friend. After moving to Malta few years ago, I sold some but because here summer is terribly hot and my stall was by the sea, I did not want to risk and damage them all because of humidity and salinity. So I have been putting all my energies on our Etsy shop since late 2017, even if we opened it back to 2013.

What I have found out through the years which one is more appreciated is the following type, easy and gorgeous to wear. You can twist it or either not. Try now how fun is making it!

4 t-shirt yarns of 100 inches each ( to get approx. 26 inches long necklace)

a nice button as closure

a needle 

some sewing yarn (same color of t-shirt yarn)

scissors

Tie a yarn keeping attention not to make tight knots but let them loose. While you are tying hold the yarn with the other hand, do not let it turning on itself. Leave about 1 inch of slack on each extremity, keeping attention on one yarn only to leave it a bit more, because you will use it to make a buttonhole.

When all yarn will be tied, put all of them next each other and check all of them. Make sure that all must have the same slack length except the one useful to make the buttonhole.

Now you can start sew them together, first from one side, then from the other.

Sew the buttonhole after checking the size of the button you chose. It should be not too big or too small to fit it and ensuring the necklace to remain close.

Sew the button on the other side.

Congrats! You did it!

Don’t be shy and text me if you have queries!

Look for (amateur 😅) videos on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mediterraneanartcrafts

Have a look at our Etsy shop : http://www.mediterraneanart.etsy.com

What's new ?

La collezione di stoffa

In questi anni penso di aver realizzato centinaia e centinaia di collane come queste in foto, per lo più le abbiamo vendute nei mercati e solo da qualche anno su Etsy. Quello che ho scoperto nel corso degli anni essere più apprezzato è il tipo a nodini multifilo, facile (ma non velocissimo) da fare e splendido da indossare. Puoi torcerlo oppure no. Prova ora a farla anche tu, sara’ divertente!

Cosa ti serve per fare un girocollo da 60 cm: 

da 4 a 8 fettucce da 210/250 cm (dipende l’elasticita’ del tessuto), un bottone da abbinare, ago, filo per cucire del colore più simile alla fettuccia, forbici.

Come si fa:

lascia un paio di centimetri e comincia ad annodare il filo stringendo i nodi con calma e facendo attenzione a non lasciare spazio fra l’uno e l’altro. Cerca di mantenere il filo dritto, per avere dei nodi omogenei e non torcere troppo il filo stesso.

Quando tutti i fili saranno annodati, mettili in piano uno accanto all’altro e assicurati che tutti abbiano lo stesso margine ad eccezione di un lato solo, piu’ esterno, che sara’ piu’ lungo perche’ diventera’ l’asola.

Bene, arrivati a questo punto puoi cominciare a cucire la prima estremita’. Dopo dall’altra parte e poi creando l’asola. Aggiungiamo il bottone. Ce l’hai fatta! 

C’é la variante con moschettone, oppure con fettuccia arrotolata e cucita attorno, come in questo caso:

Sciarpa collana cucita a mano nei colori latte, celeste e nero. Ha quattro fili di fettuccia di cotone poco elasticizzata annodati pazientemente.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/452932234

Ho provato, ma con scarsi risultati a fare qualche video dimostrativo che puoi comunque trovare sulla mia pagina mediterraneanartcrafts.facebook.com

Malta

Mercatini dell’usato e di beneficenza a Malta

Adoro visitare mercati, mercatini delle pulci e dell’antiquariato. Quest’ultimi a Malta sono i più numerosi e sono tutti gestiti da associazioni di beneficenza in favore di cani o gatti randagi. Ogni qualvolta visito uno di questi luoghi, il primo pensiero che mi assale è sul numero di oggetti di cui prima vogliamo assolutamente circondarci per poi successivamente sbarazzarcene. Non riusciamo ad ammettere quanto siamo ricchi. Si ha voglia sempre più spesso di cambiare mobilio, abiti, attrezzature e così per pochi soldi si trovano oggetti praticamente nuovi. Da anni vi acquisto abiti e non solo. Lo faccio in primo luogo perché sento che nel mio piccolo contribuisco a immettere meno immondizia non riciclabile nell’ambiente e quando acquisto per beneficenza so che i miei soldi verranno spesi bene da persone motivate per delle buone cause.

Foto di Phad Pichetbovornkul su Unsplash

Adoro girovagare nei charity shop di Malta, dove sebbene di ridotte dimensioni, ce n’è almeno uno per villaggio. Non tutti sono bene organizzati ma vale la pena darci occhiata. Sono solitamente aperti tutte le mattine, qualcuno anche nelle prime ore del pomeriggio. Qui le signore volontarie sono sempre di buonumore. Adoro esplorare questi luoghi perché sono davvero educativi, e mi riferisco in particolare ai mercatini delle pulci e dell’antiquariato. Lì si trovano oggetti che vedrei altrimenti visitando un museo etno-antropologico, come certi registratori, radio, attrezzi da cucina, cartoline e francobolli, giocattoli e libri. Mi ha emozionato vedere recentemente anche una scatola piena di musicassette scritte a mano.

Credo di cuore che questi luoghi dovrebbero essere promossi per l’alto potenziale culturale e di aggregazione sociale, in particolare per il pubblico giovanissimo.


C’è però di mia conoscenza un solo mercato delle pulci e dell’antiquariato che si svolge ogni domenica mattina a Birgu (o Vittoriosa) dove mi piace andare a rovistare, ma solo in certi periodi dell’anno. Il luogo del mercato e’ una sorta di campetto sportivo. Quando ha piovuto il suolo è fangoso per cui poco praticabile sia per il visitatore ma soprattutto per il venditore che non può disporre a terra gli oggetti. Meglio visitarlo presto in quanto dalle ore 11 alcuni cominciano a mettere via e disfare la bancarella. In Agosto fa così caldo che non ci vado mai. Sembra un mercato nato spontaneamente e rimasto tale. Riesco a distinguere chi ha un po di antiquariato, chi ha comprato in blocco rimanenze di magazzino e chi si presenta con le proprie cose personali, magari disponendole alla rinfusa su un telo. Magari un venditore sullo stesso piano o plaid ha stoviglie antiche e scatole di caricabatterie, piccoli elettrodomestici e giocattoli. Oppure libri e riviste accanto ad aggeggi metallici da ferramenta che non saprei come meglio definire. Generalmente non vedo molte facce da turista, pochi giovani e famiglie, ma di gente ce n’è. Mi piace andarci perché è un luogo che stimola la fantasia e mi tiene concentrata. Proprio perché sono accostati fra loro certi oggetti che non hanno una connessione logica, quando sono in cerca di qualcosa in particolare mi tengo concentrata sul tipo di oggetto che voglio trovare, per esempio focalizzo sulla forma o il colore dell’oggetto che mi aspetto di vedere. Altrimenti rischierei di tornare a casa con in borsa un altro oggetto e la mia casa ha dimensioni alquanto ristrette!

Il mio fantastico manichino

Non sempre sono fortunata al primo colpo ma mi reputo abbastanza soddisfatta dei miei acquisti sostenibili: un prezioso manichino, che ha di certo migliorato l’esposizione delle collane che cucio a mano e che puoi vedere su www.mediterraneanartcrafts.com. Una simpatica scatola per le spolette fatta a mano dalla moglie del venditore, che era un po scollata ma l’ho rimessa in sesto. Due fantastici reggilibri in ebano a forma di elefante. Uno dei due ha perso le zanne ma sono ugualmente belli. Ho poi trovato dei piatti in porcellana cinese con decori aborigeni australiani ancora nella loro scatola originale, un portalettere e cornice per foto a forma di scaffale di libri, della bigiotteria da riciclare, vinili e giradischi in ottime condizioni, piante grasse e altri oggetti utili per la casa. 

Alcuni di questi tesori non li troverò mai al centro commerciale.

Malta

Charity shops and flea markets in Malta

I love going to markets, flea markets and charity shops (called thrift stores in the US). Visiting places such these, you get an idea of how wealthy we are. People get rid in a larger part of new or slightly new objects and you get them for peanuts. I often buy clothes as well. In this way, you are contributing to the environment. When buying from a charity shop you’re helping other people or animals who need food and care. These places are educational. There are materials you can also find in anthropological museums, such as video recorders, handwritten music cassettes, kitchen tools, old stamps and postal cards, old toys…I strongly believe they should be promoted more for cultural and social events, especially for the younger public.

Photo by Phad Pichetbovornkul on Unsplash

In Malta, there are several charity shops spread all over the island. But if you want to see more curious items and treasuries there is a weekly flea market in the old village of Birgu (now called Vittoriosa) where I go in certain periods of the year. I avoid it after it rained because the pavement becomes muddy, and during the heat of August. This market is a mixture of secondhand items, antiques and knick-knacks and has placed every Sunday morning from early hours till not later than noon. Comparing to Ballaro’ (Palermo), Porta Portese (Rome) or other flea markets I have visited in the past years, this one is attended by few tourists. Visitors are mostly adult people, Maltese couples or singles but also foreign families living in Malta and British pensioners. Sellers are aged 50+. It looks like a neighbourhood garage sale. Few of these sellers keep items in order on a plaid. Some don’t even use it. In the same space, you can find fine decorated plates and mobile chargers, old home appliances and magazines. I like going there because I keep myself focused on it as visual exercise. Do you remember during childhood playing memory games? I feel to be more or less in that spirit.

They should be more promoted

for cultural and social events,

especially for the younger public.

 I have found there my precious mannequin, where I take pictures of every necklace I make. Then a handmade sewing box made from the seller’s wife, two ebony elephant bookends, cute photo frame and letter mail holder for book lovers, two aboriginal Australian plates, Maltese exercise books, a colored terracotta vase, a colored tin and lately a bunch of metal chains and shells for jewelry. Some time ago I have also bought a like-new record player and some succulent plants. if you live in a tiny flat, browsing in markets like this it’s hard. I have been tempted on many occasions, so I always do my best to be selective and choose only useful and needed items.

My necessary secondhand mannequin

Last visit to the Birgu Sunday market was a failure for me. I was looking for some jewellery to reuse, woollen yarns and a cute small box or container, possibly a wooden one but what all I found it was a new corkboard to pin my notes for 0.50 euro cent only. It went better on Saturday morning at a charity shop. There I got plenty of vintage buttons, a wicker basket to fill with pine cones I painted last year for Christmas and two glittered fabric flowers as decoration for the holiday season. 

Have you ever been in such lovely places?

If your answer is “NO” I will give you

Malta

Roasted Aubergine Parmigiana

When it comes time to cook something tasty, the first thing I have in mind is an aubergine. In Sicilian, we call it “milinciana” and we have plenty of choice of recipes depending on its shape and size.


Sometimes at work, we spend our lunch break together and my colleague had the idea to ask me and our foreigner coworkers if we wished to cook a dish of our country to share among us. I love cooking and instantly replied: <yes, of course!> but I thought, what could I cook at home and bring at work for a stand-up meal?

My mum has almost taught me all I know about cooking. But I rarely cook because as a good Sicilian I enjoy more doing it when there are a lot of people. I practised and improved during my university studies when me and some friends used to prepare a dinner once a month up to 20 people.
I brought at work two trays and nothing left, everybody loved it. To be honest, I spent 5 hours for the whole process because we were 38 people and I wanted to make sure everyone could try it. I had not minded cooking all that time. I much rather enjoyed the hour we chatted about our recipes and relaxed.
The following recipe would be for 4 people as the main course.

Photo by Diane Helentjaris on Unsplash and by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

To fill up a medium oven tray what you need is:

1/1.2 Kg= 4/5 aubergines
1 can chopped tomato
370 ml tomato sauce
200 gr chopped mozzarella
60/100 gr grated mix parmesan (60%) and pepato (40%) cheese
1 medium chopped onion (better red or gold)
5/6 tsp breadcrumbs
basil leaves, olive oil, salt

  1. Start peeling the aubergines, then slice them slightly less than 1 cm and grill. TIP: once ready, put the aubergines in a large dish and paint them just a bit with olive oil and salt. So later they will be still soft.
  2. In the meantime, you can chop the onion and in a pot put with some olive oil and heat it. Once the onion will be golden add the tomato (both types) and cover. Sometimes turn the sauce with a spoon. In 20 minutes it will be ready. Then add salt and full basil leaves.
    3.When all ingredients are more or less at room temperature heat the oven at 200C and take cheese and breadcrumbs. Prepare the oven dish (avoid a glass one):
  3. First, fill the dish with a scoop of tomato sauce and spread 1 or 2 spoons of breadcrumbs all over. After spreading homogeneously the aubergines, add some cheese (all types). Put again some tomato sauce and do like that till you will fill it all. TIP: breadcrumbs are useful on top and at the bottom of the dish.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and wait at least 30 min to serve.

Buon appetito!

What's new ?

Sciarpa collana a nodini di stoffa

Mi diverto tantissimo nell’annodare fili kilometrici di fettuccia con cui creo morbide sciarpe gioiello rifinite con un bottone o moschettone.

Sai cos’e’ la fettuccia? E’ una striscia di stoffa di cotone o di acrilico venduta in gomitoloni. Si tratta per lo piu’ di cimose, ovvero quelle bordure laterali delle stoffe che si scartano nelle industrie tessili e un genio (si secondo me lo e’) ha cominciato a riutilizzarle e diffonderne l’uso qualche anno fa. Si possono usare in mille modi sia con le proprie mani che con l’uncinetto. Si trovano sia in tinta unica che a stampa nelle mercerie. Di solito ogni gomitolo differisce un pochino dagli altri.

Generalmente per fare una sciarpa come questa qui sotto taglio quattro fili di 3,5/ 4 metri ciascuno. Li annodo uno ad uno, poi cucio a mano le estremita’ e rifinisco. La lunghezza finale dipende dallo spessore del tessuto e da quanto sia elasticizzato.

Collana rosso rubino e blu arabesque disponibile qui : https://www.etsy.com/it/MediterraneanArt/listing/733257943

Alcune fettucce sono sottili e leggere per cui preferisco fare una collana con molti fili, altre invece sono voluminose, come questa qui di seguito con due toni di rosa e rifinita con un bottone di cocco.

Collana rosa e ortensia diponibile qui: https://www.etsy.com/it/MediterraneanArt/listing/521982495

Accettiamo ordini personalizzati. Se hai visto un modello che ti piace ma lo vorresti di un altro colore, scrivici a: mediterraneanartcrafts@gmail.com o contattaci sui social media. Siamo su Etsy dal 2013 e qui ci sono alcune delle nostre ultime recensioni, di cui ne sono molto orgogliosa :


Malta

Learning languages

Learning a language has always attracted me but I believed it was secondary in my life plans. I have given priority to my specific studies and work career and never thought to move abroad. But life is incredibly changeable and it is better to grab new opportunities when they arise.

Looking back to my first days on the island of Malta years ago,I can remember how insecure I was in speaking another language for the first time in life. I must say that I studied English language and culture at school, nearly twenty years ago. What happened after that I rarely practised it until landing in Malta.

Having started a new job, all of a sudden I have realized to be able to speak English twelve hours a day.

During the first weeks I was mentally exhausted. I found out that changing language was very tiring because I was translating word for word from Italian. Slowly this kind of stress went down and I acquired more self-esteem.

Today I keep revising English, but after some time since landing on the island, I have come up with the idea to learn the other official language of this country. This is why I guess, Maltese clearly also derives from my native local language, Sicilian. I realized it just after listening to some people talking on television during a movie. The whole history, culture and folklore of the two islands are strongly connected. It would be obvious to notice when looking at a map, but when you are inside it, personal feelings and reactions are different. 

It has already been one year since I started learning the archipelago original language, that is a mixture of semitic languages coming mostly from North African Arabic, Italian and English. It is indeed quite complex for me to conjugate the verbs and some names as well, since there are quite as such irregularities, but I am confident I will be able to speak it. 

As in every language we want to learn, time is our friend. 

I attended an extensive course last year, about 90 lesson hours plus a short course where it was asked of me, as a writing exercise, to prepare some slides relating to my culture and origins. It is a bit complicated if you do not have a Maltese keyboard. 

In fact the Maltese alphabet is the only semitic language in Europe using the Latin alphabet, with some characteristics. They read ħ as for “hello”, while h is silent. Letter g is read as the word “great”, whereas ġ as the word “general”.

They also have two z, one with a dot on top and one without. Their ċ can be read as  “city”. Their particular letter is then pronounced “ain”. They consider it as a single consonant.

Comparing it with the English alphabet, I have encountered less difficulties in reading, apart from words containing the letter Q. Looking at its phonetic symbol: /ʔ/ it has a particular pronunciation.

I had to work on it, but now I am quite sure about pronouncing it quite well.

What's new ?

The light wool offcut : a handmade loop scarf necklace

What I have learnt in my childhood and what I keep trying to adopt in my everyday life, are my mum’s lesson on recycling, especially of clothes, fabrics and sewing equipment. 

That is why I would like to say something about it. 

When I was a child there were times where people used to buy fabrics at the weekly open air market or else in the only two haberdasheries of the local area that sold fabrics and finishing named “Cubo magico” and “Merceria Raffa”. Thirty years ago it was not custom to purchase all one’s clothes from shops. Much rather there was at least a tailor in the family or in the neighbourhood.

I can still remember when the kitchen table was full of tailor’s paper pinned on cloth strips of different sizes. Women of our village came to sew together almost every day with my mother or just to ask her advice. I liked listening to their conversations about new issues of those fashion magazines with included all model patterns that they usually swapped. 

During the last Christmas holidays, some family friends came for dinner. The topic of  conversation was firstly on Christmas presents. We overall receive clothes or accessories, so the talk moved around fashion and trends. What all of us agreed was that nowadays people buy “fast fashion” because there is not time to sew anymore. Apart from that, it may be a paradox but in our area it is now difficult to find fabric sellers.

It was there that my mum’s friend remembered a stored beautiful woolen offcut gifted a long time before. She said that it had a floral pattern with dark red tones, soft to the touch and lightweight. She partially used it years before to make a shirt, but she did not know what to do with what was left. As soon as she asked if it could be useful to me, I looked at my mother who nodded and enthusiastically replied: <<Of course! I love vintage fabrics, they make you think and travel within your mind >>.

A few weeks later me and my mum put our ideas into practice. 

She started with measurements and claimed that the length was not enough for a long stole, as I had thought at the beginning. Instead she suggested sewing two loop scarves and immediately we both  agreed to adorn them with some vintage buttons. I went straight to find two good ones in an old biscuit tin where she keeps them.


I suppose it took her only an hour to sew them. Even though if they were been two simple things, the satisfaction you feel by creating something with your hands it is so much that makes time pass by quickly.


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A wooden fish mobile : unique carved and painted marine decorations

The first time I decided to go out with my uncle looking for some driftwood was not as easy as I thought while closing the house door. I can still remember it was in January in the early afternoon.

Once there, I got in mind the same place but during the summer season when it looks so noisy, full of umbrellas and inflatables. In front of me then I could see just an isolated sandy beach. Wherever there were trunks, large stones and an overall smaller space than I could remember. In winter storms waves are so long that they halve the depth of the entire beach, but it is also true that the erosion of the coasts is visible without technical tools. In short, I got lost in my environmental thoughts when, after listening to my name, I turned back to look at my uncle’s bag. It was full. I looked at mine. It was empty. Wisely he suggested swapping our shopping bags so he could gather two or three more driftwood before going back home.

Later, he made a more accurate selection of wood. Those which were discarded would rather go into the stove, others would stand aside for a while to check they would not have “disagreeable guests”. It would be a pity to make a wooden mobile and then find out to burn it into the stove! After “quarantine” those will be used to create fish mobiles. It depends on the length of a single branch how big and high will become a wall decor. 

Regarding other wooden decor and magnets as fish, butterflies, swans, geckos so on are made of fir that is sold in boards of different sizes and thickness in carpentry stores. On each board (approx size is 28″x 40″) first he draws the contours shaped with the template, trying to leave as little scrap as possible (which will eventually only end up on the stove) and then starts to carve. The following step is smoothing. The latest phase is painting while listening to the radio.

During winter months as of February and March, his whole apartment is full of boards where literally lie all these “creatures”. 

Fish mobiles follow a different process. Usually, their eyes are painted one part at a time if not color of the iris would be mixed with the white of the pupil. All wooden decors are painted first of color on both sides, but on magnets and wall decors finishing is made on one side only.  Once the paint has dried, drilling is the following step so then every part is ready and he can make mobiles.

A wooden fish mobile : unique carved and painted marine decorations

https://www.etsy.com/listing/450966756/

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Lo scampolo di fresco lana: Sciarpa ad anello in tessuto floreale rosso fatta a mano

Fin da ragazzina mi hanno insegnato a fare sempre domande per capire la natura delle cose e la mia insegnante di storia e filosofia ha lasciato un gran segno nel mio modo di pensare e fare. Per ogni cosa cerco una causa ed un effetto, possibili connessioni esistenti…solo pensando in questo modo sento di raggiungere una migliore comprensione di un fatto o comportamento e un diverso livello di significato per qualcosa, oggetto o astrazione.

Un’altra cosa poi che fa parte di me e che ho appreso in particolare dalle donne di casa, nonna e mamma, è riciclare il più possibile, con riferimento a vestiti, tessuti e finiture come bottoni, cerniere e quant’altro. Detto ciò vorrei raccontare di una, o meglio due collane sciarpa.

Gianna, una cara amica di famiglia, conservava da circa trent’anni uno scampolo di tessuto che le aveva regalato la cognata quando ancora lavorava in una fabbrica di tessuti su in Veneto. Erano tempi in cui dalle parti dove sono cresciuta si comprava la stoffa al mercato o dalla signora Raffa o al Cubo Magico (le uniche mercerie della zona che vendevano tessuti per abiti). Allora non tutti avevano il guardaroba acquistato in negozio, piuttosto si facevano gli abiti in casa, soprattutto ai bambini e signore. Mi torna in mente quando da bambina vedevo spesso sul tavolo della cucina carta velina puntata con gli spilli sopra strisce di stoffa di formato diverso e alcune donne del paese invitate o per cucire con mia mamma o per discutere su come rifinire o modificare un capo. Mi piaceva ascoltare le loro conversazioni sul nuovo numero della rivista di moda con tutti i cartamodelli che si passavano e si scambiavano e su quello del catalogo di Postal Market dove potevano trovare nuovi spunti e idee.

Durante le scorse vacanze natalizie Gianna e il marito erano da miei a cena e si discuteva che al giorno d’oggi si compri “fatto e buono” perche’ non si ha più tempo da dedicare alla realizzazione di un unico capo e anche perché in zona è ormai difficile trovare commercianti di stoffa.
E’ così fu che Gianna ricordò di avere a casa un bellissimo scampolo di qualità regalatole molto tempo prima che in parte aveva utilizzato cucendo una maglia ma che le erano rimaste due “strisce di stoffa” che non sapeva come usare. Appena mi chiese se ero interessata per crearci qualche gioiello in tessuto, diedi un’occhiata a mia madre che annuì e risposi entusiasta: <<Certo! Adoro le stoffe vintage, ti fanno pensare e viaggiare con la mente>>.

E’ fu così che mia mamma, con le sue abili mani qualche giorno dopo, mettendo in pratica le misure e le constatazioni da esperta, sostenendo di non poterli trasformare in tubolari (vedi qui sotto) perché la stoffa si potrebbe deformare al passaggio delle perline, era d’accordo nel cucire due sciarpe ad anello. Facendo una prova davanti allo specchio e pensando che con tutti i bei bottoni contenuti nelle nostre scatole di latta qualcuno da abbinare ci sarebbe sicuramente stato.

Delle due realizzate, una si trova in America, regalata dal figlio alla madre per Natale. L’altra è invece pronta a continuare la sua storia e il suo viaggio….

Se hai domande e curiosita’ scrivimi su mediterraneanart@libero.it