Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Big brothers to be

Today I received the first sneak-and-peek image of a photo session some time ago, featuring the first two crochet bow ties I ever made, as well as a matching crochet flower belt. It was a family photo session of our dear friends and neighbours who are expecting their third child due in mid-January. Thus, these two charming young men, Albert and Lennart, will soon be big brothers to a little princess.

Photo by Krista Kõiv
I am hoping to show you some more photos, hopefully featuring all of these items, as well as some close-ups, in the future. For now, I’m leaving you with these handsome lads. Not too shabby, eh? ;)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Red is the new black

I know it’s Black Friday, but I’m currently all about RED!

This ball of bright scarlet red mercerized cotton crochet thread was waiting for its time on my shelf for quite some time, as I couldn’t think of a perfect project for this shade of red. Then, one day I came up with an idea of testing some holiday ideas for kids. Uku and Ada are perfect models for matching sibling’s outfits, photo props and accessories. They are more and more pals every day, and it’s so cute to just watch them get along. Well... most of the time anyway.


Photographing them is of course a challenge of its own, as they hardly ever stand still and I'm still in the process of domesticating my new Nikon camera, which refuses to obey from time to time. Here are a couple of shots I’m most pleased with.


Just for fun, I posted a couple of these photos on my Facebook page, and now I have orders from friends piling up - matching accessories for entire families. I should get to it, before it gets out of hands. I’m so excited, and it means a world to me knowing that my friends appreciate what I do.


Oh, and as for Black Friday: I’m running a massive ‘Black Friday to Cyber Monday’ sale on KERA Softwear - 20% off everything! Please pop by. Who knows, maybe you will find a perfect handmade Christmas gift for yourself or your loved ones… ;)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Unbearable Lightness

Days are drifting into oblivion, while we are enjoying the 'unbearable lightness of being' on the paradise island. How I love the silent dampness of its autumnal forests, desolate beaches and starry nights! And although we are sorry to miss Kristjan’s concerts in Tallinn with his brand new international trio, I’m more needed here by the rest of my family.

My days are filled with juggling between numerous different tasks (work-related and otherwise), plus the daily chores with and around the kids. Time for my Etsy store and creating new things has become scarce, but I have still managed to come up with a couple of new designs.


This mother and daughter set of crochet flower headbands is one of them. Curiously enough, the listing for these two snow white flower crowns has become one of my most popular ones. Which makes me wonder: perhaps there is a real market for 'mommy and baby' matching accessories and outfits out there? Indeed, the one time me and Ada were proudly modelling the headbands on a summer event in the local open air museum, we were quite a tourist attraction and photographing object. Uku was completing our gang beautifully in his white linen shirt and grey cropped trousers. Rustic chic.


I managed to grab my brand new Nikon camera and take this shot just two seconds before Ada dropped off the toy horse. ;)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Marital Arts

It’s a beautiful day! Of course, it would be even more beautiful if I could spend it with my beloved husband to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Instead, he just arrived in his next concert destination in Alsace, while I’m here in our summer house on the paradise island with the kids. We will see each other again in Tallinn in 10 days.

Photo: Annika Metsla
Our wedding day exactly one year ago was simply magical! We have the most beautiful memories of the entire event. Everything went exactly the way we had planned, and we had tan absolutely wonderful team of professionals working with us. I know I have promised to cover the different aspects of our wedding preparations in here too, and so far I have hardly even touched the subject, but I will definitely do it in the future, introducing all these great artists and professionals we were happy to meet and hire during our wedding planning, from the designer of the rings to the caterers. I’m excited to re-live all these cherished memories when blogging about them!

Photo: Annika Metsla
I’m so happy and blessed to have this man in my life He has brought along so many wonderful things. Thanks to him, I’m living the life of my dreams.


The last picture was taken in early July by a photographer friend Kaupo Kikkas, when we revisited the wedding venue, Õisu (Eusekyll) Manor in South Estonia to get some new portrait photos of Kristjan. We used this opportunity to have Kaupo take a few of shots of our entire gang as well, which has increased by one member since the wedding. I'm looking at this black and white image, and I'm seeing colours - as bright and vibrant as our life together.

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

About...

It literally took me AGES to get to it, but when I finally did, it turned out not to be such an insurmountable task after all. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the freshly crafted "About" text of my Etsy store. Of course, I would be very grateful for  any tips about further pieces information I should add etc., so please let me know if you have ideas on how to improve it. :)

- - -

Welcome to KERA Softwear! My name is Epp and I like to make beautiful, functional things.

Crafting has been a dear hobby for me for years. I have been knitting and crocheting since I was a child. However, it started to take a more serious nature for me a few years ago, when I decided to open an Etsy store and make it a playful business beside my day job as a translator. I immensely enjoy designing functional and feminine fashion accessories to balance the time I spend behind the blinking computer screen, converting things from one language into another.

For my passion for handicrafts I have to thank my late grandmother Elisabeth who first introduced me the endless possibilities of the versatile art of crochet when I was a child. She herself was a skilled crocheter, creating beautiful and meticulously realized garments and fashion accessories. Using the very limited selection of materials available at the time behind the Iron Curtain, she was able to turn simple cotton threads and dull-looking lambswool yarns into intricate cardigans and clutch bags etc. I have started to see it as my mission to bring her legacy to the next level, taking advantage of my access to the endless variety of inspiring high quality materials and using the cream of them to create exquisite luxury items, such as clutch bags and purses, hand-knitted lace shawls, scarves and fingerless gloves. As a tribute to my beautiful grandmother and the remembrance of the past, I am still using her size 3 crochet hook for many of my projects, with Czechoslovakia written on its side. This “lucky needle” travels with me everywhere I go.

I mostly find my inspiration from nature, its infinite variety of colours, patterns, shapes and textures. No matter how crazy and out-of-this-world designs you may create, you can rest assured the shapes and shades already exist somewhere in the nature. My surrounding environment is a constant source of inspiration to me. However, my greatest joy comes from my little “crew*: my husband Kristjan and our two adorable children, son Uku (3) and daughter Ada (9 months). Although it often feels that they all have mastered their own special ways to keep my mind off my crafting business, it is them who I see as my greatest source of inspiration and motivation. There is so much blessing and happiness in my life, and I truly hope that my products also exude some of this positive energy and the joy I have felt when creating them, which carries on to all the beautiful people wearing them all over the world.

For more information about my life, thoughts and working process, please also visit the blog section of my website at www.kerasoftwear.com. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Sapphire Blue

Early summer I received another exciting custom request from one of my ‘gold clients’, a lovely lady from the States who has ordered and bought many items from my Etsy store over the past few years. It’s always so much fun brainstorming with her to find the best design solutions and materials for her custom requests. Many of her wishes have inspired me to test new things and think outside the box.


This time, she requested a set of hand-knitted lace shawl, lacy fingerless gloves, a shell clutch and a silk satin sash belt with flower embellishments and extra long ties. It was so much fun to work on the order, although none of the designs were new. It was the colour that intrigued me the most this time. At first, she hesitated, whether to go for lime green or royal or sapphire blue, so I suggested what most appealed to me at the time: sapphire. Mostly because I had been looking at these skeins of super soft feather-like kid silk mohair for some time in my local yarn store, but hadn’t yet found a right project to inspire me. It wasn’t too difficult to colour-match the rest of the materials: silk satin for the sash belt, materials for the clutch bag, beads for the fingerless gloves and Swarovski Elements crystal buttons). Some of these I already had in my stash anyway.


The central and most time-consuming item in the set was of course the lace shawl. This pattern, Branching Out by Susan Pierce Lawrence published in Knitty online magazine a few years ago has been my favourite for large ethereal lace shawls. Intricate and detailed, but very easy to remember and knit, with no hocus pocus, such as nupps. I have found the perfect way to combine three pattern panes into a wide lace shawl. The crochet lace edging is my own original design. I had some trouble finding the right density along the narrow sides of the shawl, but I got it right on the second go. 

Yarn: King Kid Silk by Classic Yarn
Needles: Size 5 circular bamboos; crochet hook size 3



I had my biggest a-ha! moment with the silk sash though. I had had similar sash belts with 3D textile flower embellishments in my selection before, but I had always limited the length with the width of the fabric pane (usually 1.5 m or so), which is not very long for a tie belt. As the client specifically requested a belt with extra long ties, I was a bit puzzled as to how to solve it, as I already had the textile in the perfect shade of blue, but - as always - only 1.5 meters long. What I really didn’t want was the look of the belt disrupted by a visible seam somewhere in the middle. So I came up with this: the one inevitable seam is discreetly hidden behind one of the flower embellishments. The result: a belt 2.56 meters long. It’s the perfect length for a tie belt, and I’ll be sure to use this solution from now on!


Wishing you guys a wonderful rest of the summer with warmest greetings from the paradise island!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

After Eight

I have gone through another lengthy identity crisis as a blogger, but I recently had a constructive discussion about it with my Better Half, and he asked some right questions and gave me some valuable advice. I believe I have now managed to define my unique path more clearly. Although I’m still planning to write about a little bit of this and that, I will, from now on, still mainly focus on my activities in the design and crafting spheres. How does that sound to you?

Keeping my Etsy store running during the holidays has always been a challenge to me, but I believe I have now finally found a way to keep things going and mobile. So I packed a small (board size) suitcase with the essentials for keeping my small business going: a sewing machine, needles and hooks, supplies for duplicating my bestsellers and finishing the custom orders in progress, and also materials for testing new designs. Frankly, I haven’t so far got the chance to even touch the latter, as I have been busy working on some challenging and exciting custom orders. These eight emerald green clutch bags, for instance, which recently started their journey to the US as gifts to some lovely bridesmaids.


I was an honour to make these! Although I have been thinking in that direction before, it was a novel task for me in two respects. First, although I have been thinking about it a LOT, I have never really got to make an item in several identical copies in one go (as you may know, I usually sell single pieces), so that I could present them as a set of identical accessories (for bridesmaids, bridal shower guests, sisters, etc.). Second, some customers have asked about personalization before, but I had always turned them down out of my fear for failure. Until now. I decided to give it a try in hand-stiched personalization. And although I admit I have a looong way to go, I believe I fulfilled the task nicely enough. And by doing that, I managed to push my limits a bit and overcome my fear for failure, which has kept me from doing MANY things over the time. :)


Indeed, repeating the same design in eight copies can start to feel like working in a sweatshop, but luckily for me, this stunning shade of emerald green and the materials selected by the customer were super fun to work with. Next in the pipeline is something in a shade equally beautiful and inspiring: sapphire blue.

- - -

Seljataga on järjekordne pikaleveninud identiteedikriis blogijana, aga üks hiljutine vestlus Kristjaniga on aidanud veidi selgemini määratleda mu oma ainulaadset rada. Ja kuigi temaatilisi hüppeid siia ja sinna ei keela ma endale ka edaspidi, keskendun siitpeale siiski eelkõige oma tegevusele käsitöö- ja disainimaastikul. Kuidas tundub?

Poekese käigushoidmine suviste ümberpaiknemiste perioodil on olnud minu jaoks pidevalt väljakutse. Varemalt pidasin paremaks lülitada kogu ettevõtmine puhkuserežiimile, aga nüüd on mul, kuhu iganes ma kulgen, auto pagasiruumis kaasas üks lisaühik - pardamõõdus kohver koos kõige vajalikuga, et poodi käimas hoida. Lõviosa kohvriruumist hõivab õmblusmasin, ülejäänu võtavad enda alla materjalid bestsellerite dubleerimiseks ja eritellimuste lõpetamiseks ning üht-teist ka uute lahenduste katsetamiseks. Viimaseni pole ma aga paraku veel jõudnud, sest eritellimused on röövinud siiani kogu aja, mida raatsin oma fantastilise kolmiku ja tõlketöö kõrvalt käsitöötegevusele kulutada. Näiteks need kaheksa smaragdrohelist pruutneitsite ridiküli, mis alutasid paar päeva tagasi teed Ühendriikidesse.


Suur au ja väljakutse oli nende tegemine! Kahel põhjusel ka uudne ülesanne. Esiteks, kuigi olen ka varem selles suunas mõelnud, et tore oleks pakkuda oma tooteid n-ö valmiskomplektktidena (pruutneitsitele, lilleneiudele, kokkusobivateks kingitusteks õdedele jne), ei olnud ma siiani kunagi teinud mitut ühesugust ridiküli korraga, et neid siis vastavalt kooslusena pildistada. Kasutasin kohe võimalust ja jäädvustasin neid edasiseks tarbeks kahe-, kolme-, viiekaupa… Teiseks, personaliseerimise kohta on minult ka varem küsitud, aga olen siiani alati arglikult ära öelnud. Need kaheksa kotti aga on varustatud käsitsi tikitud nimede ja pulmakuupäevaga. Aega võttis, aga asja sai. Olgugi et tikkijana on mul veel arvatavasti valgusaastate pikkune tee minna, enne kui ma ka ise oma tööga rahule jääksin.



Et kas hakkas lõpupoole juba liinitööks kiskuma? Õnneks olid valitud materjalid ja see hunnitu smaragdroheline toon niivõrd meeldivad, et väga üksluiseks ei muutunudki. Järgmine eritellimus, mis juba varrastel ja nõela otsas, tuleb samamoodi silmapaitavat ja inspireerivat tooni - 
safiirsinine. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

People Around Me: Eeva Sova

I just had the most wonderfully productive and frank brainstorming session on my new designs over the phone with my dear friend Eeva. In fact, it got so intense that she forgot (and missed) her doctor's appointment and I totally gave up the idea of getting any work done before it's time to pick up the Crown Prince from the daycare.

Featuring the stunning jewellery by Aija Kivi, via aijakivi.com
Here she is (photographed at our wedding with her partner Raivo and our host Hannes; I just adore this picture!), wearing one of my headpieces I handed out as bridal shower favours for my gals.


I first met her at one of Kristjan's concerts in Tallinn a couple of years ago, and it was 'love at first sight'. Not only is she one of the most beautiful women I know, a great architect and a supermom of two, but she also makes wonderful minimalist jewellery as her hobby. Here are two custom pieces she has made for me: a pendant and a brooch pin from golden leather. Simple yet sophisticated: just the way I like the objects and people around me. :)


So lucky to have you as my friend, Eeva!

- - -

Mul oli just üliviljakas ja aus ajurünnak uute toodete teemal mu hea sõbratari Eevaga. Tegelikult kujunes meie vestlus suisa nii intensiivseks, et tema unustas selle käigus oma arstivisiidi ning mina matsin maha igasuguse lootuse täna veel mõned laused tõlkida, enne kui on aeg Kroonprints lasteaiast ära tuua.


Eeva ei ole mitte üksnes üks ilusamaid naisi, keda ma tean, suurepärane arhitekt ja kahe lapse superema, vaid valmistab hobikorras ka imekauneid minimalistlikke ehteid. Kahe ülaltoodud eseme, kuldsest nahast ripatsi ja prossi uhke ja tänulik omanik olen mina. Lihtne, aga samas sophisticated - täpselt sellised, nagu mulle meeldivad asjad ja inimesed mu ümber! :)

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Wednesday WIP

There are days when I feel like an energy-bomb supermom (these days usually start with a morning run to the sea and back), and then there are those like today, which can be pretty much described with the following situation: You are stuck on the couch, breastfeeding the Princess, while the Crown Prince is right there at the dining table (but still out of your reach), shoveling buckwheat out of his bowl and onto the floor. With a systematic thoroughness characteristic of him. You are sitting there, listening to this specific sound of stewn buckwheat groats falling onto the parquet, and you are feeling that you are completely and utterly out of strength.

Three nights in a row alone with the kids (Kristjan has been recording in Gothenburg) seems to be my limit of tolerance. By the time the two of them are finally asleep, I'm squeezed out like a lemon, and no matter what my master plan for the evening was, the only thing I feel like doing is to crawl to the bed, pull a blanket over my head and stay there like this for a veeery long time - say, eighteen years.

From now on, I will try to make a new post every Wednesday, showing you my current work in progress. Mainly to discipline myself to finish the things I start. So, here is a sneak-and-peek picture of my latest project.

Eh, the whole life is a work in progress, isn't it?


- - -

Kolm õhtut lastega omapäi (Kristjan on Göteborgis plaati salvestamas) tundub olevat minu taluvuspiir. Laste ööune ajaks olen ma ka ise omadega nii läbi, et ükskõik, milline oli mu masterplaan, on ainus asi, mida ma teha tahan, voodisse roomata, tekk üle pea tõmmata ja magada - nii umbes järgmised kaheksateist aastat.

On päevi, mil ma tunnen ennast nagu energiapomm-superema (sellised päevad algavad tavaliselt kerget eneseületust nõudva jooksuringiga), ja siis on selliseid, nagu täna, mille võtab üsna hästi kokku järgmine olustikupildike: sa istud Printsessi imetades staatilises poosis diivanil ja kuuled, kuidas Kroonprints sealsamas kõrval (aga ometi käeulatusest väljaspool) endale omase süstemaatilise põhjalikkusega kausist tatart põrandale kühveldab. Kuulad seda spetsiifilist plobinat, mida tekitavad hautatud tatraterad parketile kukkudes, ja mõtled, et enam lihtsalt ei jaksa...

Aga siis on veidi hiljem kogu elamisele laskunud vaikus ning sa vaatad oma kahte magavat inglit ja tunned ennast kohutavalt süüdi, et kogu su zen-rahu vahepeal justkui tulvaveega rentslist alla voolas. 

Eh, elu ise on üks suur work in progress.

Käsitöö vallas aga püüan edaspidi kolmapäeviti "rindeuudiseid" jagada ning postitada piilupildi oma parajasti käsil olevast tööst. Põhiliselt ikka selleks, et distsiplineerida iseennast alustatud töid lõpule viima - vaatamata ülal kirjeldatud bipolaarsele olukorrale. :)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Visual identity

As I'm eager to het back in my pre-pregnancy shape, I have taken up exercising again. This means that I'm now more happy with my outer self and have more energy to make and do things. This, again, translates into being a better person in general. :)

With this renewed boost of energy, I'm excited to keep working on KERA Softwear and take it to a new level. I'm already working on some new designs and products which have been circling in my head for some time now, so stay tuned!

I have also worked on the overall visual identity of my brand and ordered new business cards as well as textile tags to attach to my finished items. Moo, for business cards, is probably not the cheapest option, but I just love their interface and simplicity. Moo has really succeeded in offering an easy way for customers to design their own cards. I also love that they offer an environmentally conscious option. So here they are: my new Green Business Cards made of finest recycled paper.


I ordered my textile tags from a German company Namensbaender. As I've used their services before, I was confident in their quality already before placing my order for KERA Softwear. For now, I decided to settle on a very simple and neutral design to fit nicely with all my products and the entire spectrum of colours I work with.



Next up: Finally crafting a proper, personal introductory text for my Etsy store and my brand new Facebook page. :)

- - -

Kahe ja poole kuuse Ada kõrvalt spordirutiini taastamine on teinud palju head, toonud rahulolu oma välise minaga ja tõstnud sisemist energiataset. Tänu sellele tunnen ennast üleüldiselt palju parema inimesena. Oma fitness-ponnistustest loodan teinekord pikemalt kirjutada.

Rohkem energiat tähendab rohkem motivatsiooni jätkata ka KERA Softweari ülesehitamist ja uuele tasemele upitamist. Mul on käsil mõned uued kavandid ja tooted, mis on juba mõnda aega mu mõtteis tiirelnud, aga mille katsetamiseni pole ühel või teisel põhjusel veel jõudnud.

Samuti olen veidi tegutsenud ühtse visuaalse identiteedi kujundamise nimel. Paljud asjad käivad endiselt kobina peale, aga mõnda aega tagasi tellitud visiitkaartide ja tekstiiletikettidega olen küll rahul. Kumbki valitud lahendus pole oma nišis tõenäoliselt just kõige soodsam, aga kuna mul on mõlemaga eelnev kogemus, teadsin nende kvaliteeti ja seda, et tellimusega ämbrisse ei astu.

Järgmine ülesanne on lõpuks ometi valmis voolida ilus ja isiklik tutvustustekst oma Etsy poele ja verivärskele Facebooki-lehele. Ootan inspiratsioonipuhangut... :)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

In Search of the Miraculous

It has been difficult to find time to concentrate on... anything, really. And I'm not a multi-tasking person by nature. Sleep deprivation combined with constant interruptions during the daytime have translated into significantly reduced mental capacity. As though certain links in my head have become disrupted. Composing coherent sentences to form an e-mail, let alone a public blog post, can be a challenge. Oh well, I guess it's a phase I just need to go through, being a fresh (there's another inappropriate choice of words, considering the fragmented nights!) mother of two. Come to think of it, things weren't much different when Uku was born...

Other people around me have been more productive. Kristjan, my Significant Other, for example, has been working on a project that I find absolutely thrilling: starting from tomorrow, he will be giving three solo concerts performing his personal selection from the circa 200 musical pieces composed by the controversial Armenian spiritual leader G.I. Gurdjieff (in collaboration with his student, Thomas de Hartmann).


I've heard him rehearse for some time now, and there's no way I'm going to miss this concert, even considering the fact that I'm currently down with the flu again. Still, the person and the teachings of Gurdjieff are surrounded by so much mystery and controversy, that I'm feeling I need to do my homework to be able to fully appreciate the perfomance. So, regardless of my current very distracted state of mind, I'm trying to chew myself through some of the more relevant chapters in Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous. The respective Wikipedia article is a somewhat less challenging reading material, but offers a good overview.

With this post I'm launching a new series of blog posts in 2015, People Around Me, introducing... well... people around me and all the awesome things they make and do. I'm excited to bring to you my fellow crafters as well as friends from very different fields! :)



- - -

Praeguses hajevil olekus on raske millessegi süveneda. Ma ei ole loomult multitasker (mis see maakeelne sõna selle kohta oligi - rööprapsija?), seega kannatan praegu pideva jõudmatuse all. Katkestused ööunes ja päevastes tegevustes on tekitanud tunde, et mu vaimne võimekus on kahanenud selliseks, et jõukohased on vaid jalaga-tagumikku-komöödiafilmid ja easy reading lugemislektüür. Sidusate tekstide, olgu siis e-kirjade või blogipostituste koostamine on tõeline väljakutse. Eks tuleb seegi etapp - taas kord - üle elada, värske (oh, missugune irooniline sõnavalik, arvestades neid magamata öid!) kahe lapse ema, nagu ma olen. :)

Teised mu lähikondlased on olnud tublimad. Kristjan, mu Tähenduslik Teine, on viimasel ajal töötanud vastuolulise Armeenia vaimse liidri G.I. Gurdieffi muusikaga ja esitab seda homsest pühapäevani kontsertidel Tartus, Tallinnas ja Jõhvis (pressiteade). Kuigi mind on taas maha murdnud mingi viirus (kindlasti jälle saadetis "armastusega lasteaiast"!), ei ole ma mingi hinna eest nõus sellest loobuma. Siiski tunnen, et täieliku kontserdielamuse saamiseks pean enne veidi kodutööd tegema, nii üritan laupäevaks läbi närida mõned asjakohasemad peatükid Uspenski raamatust In Search of the Miraculous. Vikipeedia artikkel Gurdjieffi kohta on samuti üsna sisukas lugemismaterjal ja annab hea ülevaate.

Ja sellesinase postitusega algatan uue postitusteseeria Inimesed minu ümber, kus plaanin tutvustada... noh... inimesi enda ümber ja kõiksugu vingeid asju, mida nad teevad ja loovad. Kavatsen teieni tuua oma andekate sõprade ja lähedaste loomingut eri valdkondadest - selles järjekorras, nagu nad ise minu juurde tulevad. :)