making things

Well, I have been quiet on the creative front, but recently made some bunting for a friend who had a special birthday coming up. I really enjoyed making it, and was pleased with how it turned out. I have never made bunting before, and wanted it to be classy and only subtly about the birthday so it could stay up a while.

I used black card and paper twine, and added collage from magazines I had in the house. These were:

Crafts Magazine March/April 2014

Craft and Design Magazine May/June 2014

Frankie Magazine No. 58.

Here is the bunting-


image image image image imageimage


I recently went on a workshop to make jewellery from glass. It was great for me as it was two hours one saturday morning, then two hours the next. I do appreciate a paced approach!

I am really pleased with what I made, and am hoping to go back later in the year to make a larger landscape style panel. Exciting.

Here are my creations:

cuff links

These are cuff link and they didn’t come out quite right. One piece of patterned glass was upside down (very hard to tell when making it which way was “up”) so it looks different and melted into the white glass differently too. As cuff links are rarely seen side by side, I think they are ok. I have given them to a friend.

bracelet angle

This is a piece I have made into a bracelet with some leather thong. This angle shows the middle part as lilac.


This angle shows it as gold.

Here is a brooch I made for my mum. It was a real rush job as time was running out, so I picked nice bits she would like and did a quick arrangement. It worked really well!


The last one is a pendant – two pictures to show the way the colours change.

pendant green

pendant orange


I knitted a little scarf for my sister. Here is a scan of the central part:

scarf for beth 2

Here I am modelling it.

scarf for beth 4

It is very lightweight (she does live in Australia!)

I recently made a purse for a friend’s birthday. This is the lining fabric from the V&A.


This is the purse. I used a zip I saved from a work out bag (made of hemp, hence the symbol)


I put the ends of a woollen tie on each side, to decorate.



I have knitted myself a pair of gloves and I love them!

brown 4

brown 3

They don’t match…

brown gloves 1

Which I am also very happy with.

I added some beads I have had since childhood in my sewing basket. I think I took (stole) them from my Mum’s sewing basket. I have treasured them for decades, it is about time they saw the light of day!

This is the third pair I have made. I also made two green pairs for Christmas presents for special people.


This pair I decorated with broken shells (broken ones have natural holes to sew through) and another pair I put on a sprinkling of sparkly green/clear beads.

The pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns.

I used yarn from Manos Del Uruguay which is silk/merino and is really soft and not itchy at all. Lovely.

The Brief: Creative Joyful Thing No.10

* Make an item of jewellery or some other decorative thing to wear out of an unusual material*


I knitted a cuff to look like the bark of the birch tree in my garden, then used shrink plastic to make a branch (a few leaves, really) falling in front of it.






The plastic cover does hide some of the knitting detail, but I am pleased with how it turned out. I had not used the plastic before – you bake it in the oven and it shrinks by 40- 50% in both directions, so getting the leaves the right size was a bit of a challenge and an experiment. I used pastel pencils and had to seal the underside with varnish before sewing it onto the cuff. I punched holes in the corners before shrinking.

Here is what Rachel gave to me:

IMG_5737 IMG_5739 IMG_5741 IMG_5742

A beautiful necklace made from a piece of driftwood with lovely markings in it (spalted beech possibly?) that she found on a beach in Wales. It was this size when found, like a pebble. She hammered some pins into it to adorn – perfect!

What was really nice was opening them together when Rachael visited me recently – presents!


Creative Joyful Thing No.9

*Make something out of paper mache*

There are various websites that give you tips, have a google if you need help!

(Send me some photos, no need to send the actual creation)



So, that was the brief. I had an idea of doing something abstract inspired by both a shell and a wave. I have a broken shell that I found on the beach and imagined it looking something like that, only bigger. I think the spirals within shells can really echo the shape of waves.

This is the shell:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

So I researched some shell and wave images on the internet and tried to do some sketches to develop my idea. The drawing didn’t work very well as it was so 2D but looking at the images was good.

I have no experience of paper mache at all, or making 3D objects and getting something made in reality that looked anything like what was in my head was going to be difficult. What was made was certainly nothing like I planned!

I wanted to use a kind of minced paper mache mix that is a bit like clay and you can mould into whatever shapes you want. But on the day I ended up starting the project I had no help to prepare that mixture and it was very labour intensive, so I went with the old-fashioned strips of paper glued together method. I covered various curved objects with clingfilm and covered them with the glued strips. They then had to dry before adding more layers.

Here they are drying:
cjt9 dry

Here are some stages of assembly:

cjt 3 cjt9 1

Here is the final piece:

IMG_5238 IMG_5226 IMG_5236

I painted it with spray cans to get into all the tricky bits. I was going to paint more detail onto it, but I quite liked it as it was. It is far from the beautiful object that I imagined, but it has pretty much met the brief I set for it, with the spiral inside the wave being reminicent of the inside of a shell (maybe!).

I did also make another shape, which was more shell than wave:


I was going to paint/stencil tiny waves breaking down each raised spine, but in the end I decided not to use my energy for that as I liked the other form better.

Here is what Rachael made:


He is a special dog with a secret compartment!



Look at his gorgeous felty tongue! I need to name him – suggestions welcome!

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