Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Interview with Karin Schaefer | Make a Spinning Top that creates illusions

It's definitely time again to share an interview with a Swedish Creative + a new DIY toy!

Today, I'm so happy to share an interview with designer and craft blogger, Karin Schaefer of Pysselbolaget.  I'm also going to share her new book, Pyssla med Mig, too. Our experience with Karin and the book is a little unique. 

Come join us...

Recognize that creator on the left? It's our daughter along with Freja from Pysselbolaget. This makes a lovely place to both start the interview and share something about Karin's new book, Pyssla med Mig with means: Craft with me.

Karin was the very first Swedish blogger that I'd ever met in real life. Although we'd had found one another's work, I realise our family can be a little hard to put on the map with our American, French, Swedish ecceclic mix; but, happily curiosity lead discovery and a visit to a local Swedish museum that brought us together and a creative friendship was born instantly. 

If you aren't familiar with Pysselbolaget, I can tell you that from the moment you arrive at this blog,  you will find a brightly coloured crafting bonanza that is a very happy place. It gives me the feeling of being invited to pull up a chair, push back your sleeves and create with this mother and daughter team, Karin and Freya.  

Behind the Making of  a Book:
When Karin and Freya produced their book, last summer, two of our children were invited to join in on the production. The weather was hot but, we had so much fun.  The book is an extension of what you find on Karin's blog with lots of new ideas, too. 

Attention to details, started immediately:  arriving at a Porcelain Factory Warehouse, off went the lavender coloured sundress and the kids were quickly dressed in bright primary tees. 
I'm always fascinated with environment behind a photo shoot and in these little glimpses, you can see how the pirate backdrop (above) resulted in the Pirate Party Spread.

Knowing Karin, it's not a surprise to see that the book matches her precision eyes for detail, functionality that is also very playful. The book contains projects that kids would genuinely like to make and ones that are typically done in one sitting.

I know that this duo tried and tested each and every craft in this book, right down to investigating mechanics in the best system for making a car that would really work out of recycled cartons. That's Karin and the book is a gem. We've had a great kick seeing the book at many birthday parties this year since it's publication and our son came home a little surprised that all of the girls in his class wondered what he was doing in this book!

Continue here for my interview with Karin and then, I have a little special surprise: a project from the book. 

Interview with Karin Schaefer 

1. What kind of art did you do as a kid?
I’ve always loved making things. My mom is very talented when it comes to drawing and painting but I used other materials to create things. There is really no limit to what can be done with a pair of scissors, some paper and tape.

2. Did your parents or school or environment encourage growth as an artist when you were growing up?

The school system in Sweden was not built to encourage arts when I was a kid. I always felt like an odd bird, but a crafty one. At home I was given time and space to craft. My parents have always cherished the things I made, but I don’t thing they ever thought I would make my living creating crafts!

3. Do you use your work in your home?
I get a lot of my inspirations from everyday life. When I need something I immediately think; I should be able to make that. Over the past three years Freja and I have made shelves, storage bags and boxes, lights, hangers as well as jewelry and art and it’s all in use in our home.

4. You know I have to ask this: What project would you suggest doing with children?
Hand prints! Hand Prints! Very messy, but lots of fun. Is there anything as adorable as your own kids hand prints? Print their little paws with textile paint on pillow cases, aprons and tote bag, and enjoy them for years to come. If your kids don’t like to get messy, try potato prints instead!

5 And of course: Do you have a favorite snack / or food or one that you like to make with the kids?Unfortunately I’m not all that comfortable in the kitchen, but I do what I can to make sure we eat healthy. The most popular snack in the house is however not at all healthy. We once made candy sushi for the blog and it was a hit. It’s not for everyday, but at festive occasions we make it instead of having a regular serving of candy.

6. What makes a special birthday party or party for you?
I love for the kids to make the decorations for their parties themselves. I know there are lots of pre-made thing you can buy, but we need to be careful with our environment. Birthday parties are an excellent opportunity to teach the kids how to turn trash into treasures. Toilet rolls become napkin rings, glass jars can be turned into candle holder and scrap paper can become fancy garlands. “I can make this” is a wonderful feeling, don't you think!

It's been such a pleasure getting this chance to chat with Karin. Thank you, Karin. 


These Spinning Tops that make Illusions are a wonderful, simple toy that all children can make and is one of the 50 handmade projects from Pyssla med mig.

This is what you'll need to make these:
White Paper
Colored Paper
Plastic Bottle Cap

1. Trace the CD onto the paper.
2. Clip out this circular tracing.
3. Clip bits of paper and glue to the white paper, then glue this onto the CD.

4. Glue the Marble into the center of the CD and glue the plastic bottle top on the opposite side, covering the hole.
5. Let dry.

Play time!

Willowday Wishes!


52 Handmade Willowday Projects from 2014 

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  1. Gina, you are fantastic! I'm so glad to know you and to have your beautiful and creative kids featured in the book!

    1. Karin, thank you so much for sharing with us! Everything about this was fun!


Thank you!