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

Archive for November, 2014

Alpaca Mittens

Alpaca Mittens

My current knitting project is some alpaca mittens with chunky ribbed cuffs. I’m thinking I might add a pompom or two to the cuffs, but not sure yet whether they will be made from matching or contrasting wool… I’ll try to make my mind up before the knitting part is finished!

Winter/Christmas Bunting

Christmas Bunting 1

A couple of years ago I got together with some friends before Christmas and we all made our own strings of Christmas bunting (or seasonal winter-themed bunting). It is a relatively quick and easy project, and I have just finished making the string shown here as a Christmas present for a friend this year.

Christmas Bunting 3

The project is great for using left over scraps of fabric or felt, and the flags can be as big or small as you want (and any shape!). I used felt here as it doesn’t fray (so time didn’t need to be spent on hemming all of the edges), and felt is also thick enough to glue- rather than sew- the pieces together without the glue showing.

I am a great fan of sewing things (and very fussy about the finish being as near to perfect as possible), but in this project using glue still resulted in a very nice finish, and saved time. Gluing most fabrics results in a less tidy finish than stitching, with the dried glue being visible on the finished piece, but felt is thick enough to prevent the glue soaking through if you don’t use too much.

Christmas Bunting 2

Very few materials are needed, and this is a great stash-busting project as all sorts of items can be used for decoration, including pompoms, buttons, ric rac or sequins.

Christmas Bunting 4

Using glue made it much easier to attach the pompoms, and taking care to use a small amount meant that it wasn’t visible. The Bostik glue that I used here is fantastic, and I have yet to find a material that it won’t work on! It also dries a lot quicker than textile glue, making it easier to work with.

The project was so quick and easy that a couple of work colleagues may also be receiving some bunting for Christmas this year…!

Christmas Bunting 5

Monday Mood Board

Christmas Crafts 2

It has only recently dawned on me how near we are to Christmas (having Christmas stuff in the shops since September just seems to make me blind to it!), so I have started to get some Christmas craft materials together.

Christmas Crafts 1

As well as aiming to make as many gifts as possible (I’m on the second pair of ‘Christmas-present gloves’ now…!) I also like to make sure that they are wrapped nicely. As I have a few presents to send abroad I am going to have to get started on the present wrapping sooner rather than later, especially as present wrapping seems to take place in a parallel universe, where however long you think it will take needs to be doubled to calculate the actual amount of time needed!

Christmas Crafts 3

Monday Mood Board

Crafty Bits & Pieces

At the moment I am looking through my stash of craft materials for inspiration for home made Christmas presents…

Simple Craft Storage DIY

Decorated Jar Lids

As anyone who makes things- whether it be sewing or painting, jewellery making or book binding- will know, suitable storage for tools and materials is always needed. If that storage is also good looking and unique, then so much the better.

The upcycled jars here required a minimal amount of time and effort, but they look much better on the shelf in my studio after a bit of a makeover.

Decorated Jar Lids 1

All that is needed for this project is some glass jars with flat lids, some patterned self-adhesive vinyl, a pair of scissors and compasses.

Decorated Jar Lids 2

The self-adhesive patterned vinyl that I used was a great vintage find- two unopened rolls of stick-on ‘shelf lining’ from the 1970s/80s.

Decorated Jar Lids 3

As well as (or instead of) sticking a patterned disc to the jar lids, a broad band could also be placed horizontally around the glass jar itself.

This is a very simple project, but I think it results in a much more attractive form of storage than just using the plain jars, with the added bonus that it just took a few minutes to do!

For some of my previous posts on craft storage DIYs please see here, here, here and here.



Hand Knitted Socks and Mittens!

Bright Socks

As you can see, I have finished the pair of socks that I started just over a week ago. I used two balls of a lovely self-patterning Opal Sock Yarn that I bought a couple of years ago- my New Year’s Resolution (to buy no new craft materials in 2014) has definitely helped me to thin my stash of craft materials!

I had some of the yarn left over, and I didn’t want to put it back into the yarn drawer to remain unused for another two years, so guess what I made…?

Bright Socks & Mittens

…Fingerless mittens! I designed the fingerless mitten pattern a few years ago as a one-ball project, and it’s great for using up spare sock yarn.

The weather here in Devon has just started to get colder this week, so the fingerless mittens have already had an outing. As soon as the temperature drops a little further, the socks will also become a regular wardrobe staple for the winter.

Bright Socks 2

The fingerless mittens are also a fairly quick project to knit, so I am planning on digging out some more nice yarn, and making at least one pair to give as a Christmas present. As we are already over a week in to November, I should probably crack on so that they are actually knitted in time for this Christmas!

Monday Mood Board

Some vintage sewing goodness…

Vintage Sewing Box (1)

…in a lovely wooden box!

Vintage Sewing Box (4)

Autumnal Acorn Garland

Acorn Wreath (1)

It’s the time of year when there are lots of crunchy things underfoot when out for a walk: fallen leaves, conker cases, acorns etc. It seemed a shame to just throw away all of the perfect little acorn cups that had fallen in the garden, so I made this garland with some of them instead!

Acorn Wreath (2)

Once acorn cups have dried, the acorns fall out (ready to start growing!), so I only used empty cups for this garland. It was fiddly joining the twigs with wire, but unlike using glue, it meant that the finished piece is flexible. Obviously the insides of the cups weren’t naturally bright pink, I just fancied a pop of colour.

Acorn Wreath (3)

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the garland, it was mainly an excuse for some playtime with a different material! At the moment it is hanging across the top of a mirror, providing some seasonal decoration. Nature definitely makes the best bunting!

Monday Mood Board

Feathers are such magical things, so light, soft and delicate, as well as being functional- aiding flight and providing insulation. I have enjoyed using feathers in some of the jewellery that I have made, as well as using them in some clothing upcycling projects- such as adding a feather trim to the collar of a coat.

Mood Board- Feathers

The ‘painted’ feather on the right hand side was an experiment- the designs were drawn on using permanent marker pens (‘Sharpies’ in this case). The drawn marks stayed quite sharp on the surface of the feather, with less ‘bleeding’ of the colours than I expected.

My favourite DIY project using feathers is the necklace in the centre of the picture: it combines three of my favourite materials, a peacock feather, an opal, and gold. I constructed the pendant in such a way that the feather can be removed and replaced if it becomes damaged, but it has proved to be amazingly resilient. I made the pendant about six years ago, and despite regular use, the feather has not yet needed to be replaced.


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