Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Flowers of Summer

I recently came across these pictures on my phone, and they are a nice reminder of summer now that autumn has arrived. They are some of the smallest blooms that I could find in the garden at the time, sometimes they are overlooked among the larger, brighter flowers but their delicacy has a beauty of its own.

SUMMER-FLOWERS

Looking at the structure of the blooms that are made up of many small flower-heads (such as the delicate white flowers shown here) appeals to my love and fascination for patterns. The way that these blossoms are built up from smaller identical forms is also a technique that is often used in craft projects, from patchwork quilts to jewellery.

I like to keep a crowd of flowering plants on the windowsill behind my workbench, so that even in the depths of winter I have a reminder of the beauty and colour in nature.

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Shades of Autumn

Autumn has definitely arrived, although after such a wet summer the change hasn’t been very noticeable. The leaves here are starting to turn gold and brown, and the last of the berries and fruits are just clinging on.

Looking at the fir cones I have started thinking about Christmas decorations already- I’m  torn between using some real cones, or replicating the shape of the pine cones in another material.

If I decide to use real pine cones in my decorations I will have to start collecting perfect-looking ones soon as the birds and squirrels have been stripping them of their seeds, leaving funny-looking husks behind.

The dogs seem to be enjoying the change of season and one of them even managed to stay still long enough to have her picture taken!

HAPPY-SPANIEL

Flowers from Clay

These pretty ceramic blooms make cheerful decorations, and are lovely props when arranging still life compositions for photographs.

My mum and I discovered the flowers at a car boot sale a few years ago- the blossoms have rough, unfinished backs/bases and appear to have been made to decorate a larger ceramic object/item. Some of the flowers have small chips, but I think that they just add to the vintage charm!

I recently popped into the Natural History Museum for a quick visit when I was in London for the day. I usually enjoy having a leisurely time admiring objects, hunting for inspiration, and making lots of sketches, but I only had time to look at some of the Asian and Islamic exhibits and snap a few photos.

I have roughly bunched the pictures into three categories: figures (above), patterns and metalwork.

The patterns made using inlaid mother of pearl, and those painted onto Islamic tiles, were particularly intricate and eye-catching.

The metalwork is particularly impressive considering the age of the exhibits, and the simple tools that would have been used to make them. The sheer opulence of some of the Indian pieces is stunning!

Even such a brief trip to the museum was inspiring, and there is always something new to see. Being able to admire such beautiful objects certainly makes me feel inspired to make things, and to learn new techniques and push my abilities.

Some vintage finds awaiting use in a collage or two…

VINTAGE-EPHEMERA

I have a collection of small vintage finds such as these that I upcycle or use in craft projects. The interesting items range from keys, watch faces and tape measures to engravings, photographs and medicine labels. Some of the finds are worthless on their own (e.g. a key with no lock, or a single domino), but can tell an interesting tale in a collage, or form a useful part of an upcycling project (for example the domino could be made into a drawer pull/handle).

The downside of collecting these little things is that I sometimes feel that there are so many things to make, and too little time!

There is a cabinet of lovely old lace fragments at my local museum, which always serves to remind me that it is good to tackle a more complicated craft project every now and then, and that it is amazing what craftsmen and women could make with their hands before machinery started to do it for us.

These pieces of handmade lace are so delicate and intricate, and must have taken an immense amount of time to complete: they certainly show the benefits of patience and dedication.

This gallery contains 3 photos.

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