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

Archive for July, 2014

Washi Tape

Washi tape

 Mmm… a draw full of lovely Washi tape!

Monday Mood Board

Many Bright Things mood board

I really loved the bright colours in this vintage embroidered table mat as soon as I saw it: I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but thought I’d start by using it as a prop for this colourful photo!

Monday Mood Board

'Animal Motifs' mood board

Some animal motifs: brooches, toys, game counters, charms and various other small creatures.

Cut-off Denim Shorts

As an addition to the post I made on Sunday about DIY cut-off jeans, this is a pair I made into shorts last summer, and below are some more fabulous ideas from other crafty bloggers:

 DIY shorts with pompoms

Click here for the amazing ideas below from Ko-te

How to color shorts

How to decorate the shorts


Check out this link for these lovely yellow cut offs below (I love the decorative zips!), and bright multi-coloured beauties from Keep.

Zip Decorated Fluorescence Color Denim Shorts

Gradient fluorescent flash tassel tie dye denim shorts



And take a look at the Dishfunctional Designs  blog for some imaginitive ideas of what to make with the denim that you have cut off, including toys, decorations and quilts!



Monday Mood Board

Monday Mood Board 4

I upcycled an old rosette using vintage lace and a piece of embroidered fabric, and the silk threads were all charity shop bargains!

Weekend project: cut-off jeans

Cut off jeans project 4

Yesterday I finished cutting out all of the pieces for the yellow fox-fabric dress, so now it is all ready to start sewing. Today, however, I got distracted. I had an old pair of jeans that I was going to take to the charity shop because the length and fit of the lower legs was far from flattering: I decided to cut them back into a pair of long shorts, perfect for the warm weather! The vintage liberty-style printed cotton fabric was one of the pieces that I found at a car boot sale at the end of June (see the 26th of June blog picture).  It is relatively easy to upcycle a pair of trousers like this, and it is a good stash busting project too!


Cut off jeans project 1                 Cut off jeans project 2


First I cut the legs of the jeans to the length that I wanted them (without adding a seam allowance, as it isn’t needed). Next, I measured the circumference of the bottom of the legs, at the top of where I wanted the cuff to sit: my finished cuff is 5cms deep, and the legs of the jeans taper, so it is important to measure them at the widest point in contact with the cuff.

I cut one rectangle of cotton print fabric for each leg: the length of the rectangles was equal to the circumference of the jeans leg, and the width was double the depth of the finished cuff (then adding a 1cm seam allowance all round). In order to make the sewing as easy as possible, I folded over and ironed the seam allowance- except for one short end, as this is covered by the other short end in the finished garment- and then ironed the cuff pieces in half horizontally.

Cut off jeans project 3

The next stage of the project was sewing the cuffs onto the jeans legs. I pinned them in place first, with the folded and ironed short side overlapping the unfolded end to make a neat finish. To give a crisp finish, the cuffs were sewn over the jeans legs with the bottom of the legs sitting inside the cuff, all the way down to the crease at the bottom of the cuff fabric. I sewed the cuffs around the top, about half a centimetre away from the edge of the cuff fabric. Once I had sewn all around the leg, I then sewed down the cuff to fasten the overlap in place.

To make the cuffs look integral to the design of the jeans, I then added some rectangular strips of matching material to the tops of the back pockets. The pocket pieces had to be sewn on by hand, rather than with the sewing machine, to avoid the pockets being sewn shut in the process!

  Cut off jeans project 5

Ta da, finished cut off jeans ready for some sunny weather!


Embroidered Picture Experiment

Embroidered print picture
I often pick up nice second hand picture frames, and throw away the cheap, faded prints they contain before reusing the frame. Before chucking this reproduction of a Millais painting, I thought I’d see whether a little stitching couldn’t improve it slightly…

Update: Mollie Makes has just added an article to their website featuring amazing embroidered photographs, it is well worth a look if embroidery is your thing! Click on this link to check it out.

Pretty Pink Flowers (Kalanchoe)

Pink flowers
I love the contrast of the green and pink in this photo: Kalanchoe can look a little boring as a house plant (it’s generally one of the cheaper flowering plants in the supermarkets), until you look closely and see how perfectly formed all of the individual tiny flowers are!

Monday Mood Board

Monday mood board 3

Here are a few things that are inspiring me this week. From left to right: an opal, yellow gold and peacock feather necklace that I made; some freshwater pearls; end cutters (a tool for cutting metal wire etc); three silver and yellow gold rings, set with a faceted chalcedony (the large blue gemstone), a faceted rhodolite garnet and a faceted peridot (I made the rings a few years ago); some doming punches and a bezel pusher/buffer. I went on a buying trip to Hatton Garden (London) a couple of months ago, so have a few projects to be getting on with!



Crocheted Flower and Neon Pompom Garland

crochet flower and pompom garland

This garland hangs above a print tray in my studio that contains a rainbow of vintage wooden cotton reels. I enjoy crocheting, and had wanted to make a crocheted flower garland for ages, but I struggled to find the time in between other projects. However, with the help of a 50p crocheted mat from a charity shop (see picture below), and some pompoms left over form another project, I managed to make a quick and easy version, that is still handmade.

The garland is a great project for using bits and pieces of vintage haberdashery, or odds and ends from your craft/sewing stash! This is how you can make your own:

crocheted flowers

  1. Wash and iron your mat (handmade mats/doilies like this can be found in charity shops and at car boot sales with relative ease. The great thing about this project is that if part of the mat is torn or stained, then you can discard that section and still use the rest!).
  2. CAREFULLY unpick the stitching that holds the individual flowers together.
  3. Select- or make- your pompoms.
  4. Attach a pompom to the bottom of each flower. I sewed mine on, but this was time consuming and fiddly. With the benefit of hindsight, next time I will glue the pompoms to the flowers, taking care that none of the glue is  visible on the final piece.
  5. Select, or make, the string that the flowers will be suspended from. I crocheted a base chain to the desired length, as I felt that it was in keeping with the flowers.
  6. Sew the flowers to the string. I don’t think that glue could be used for this stage, as it would be visible on the finished garland.
  7. Hang up your garland and enjoy!

crochet flower and pompom garland close-up

  There are many variations that can be applied to this project: try dyeing the crocheted flowers; use a brightly coloured ribbon or piece of ricrac for the string; use feathers, buttons or beads instead of pompoms; try crocheted flowers of different sizes on the same garland; use pompoms all in one colour for an understated look, and/or match the colour of the pompoms to the string or flowers; make a large pompom from yarn, and attach a smaller crocheted flower beneath instead of on top…etc…..


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