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

Archive for February, 2015

Hand-Dyed Vintage Lace


After hand-dying/painting some vintage lace a couple of weeks ago (see post here) I was so pleased with the result that I have experimented with a few more pieces. The Dylon Fabric Paint colours that I used can be mixed together really easily, and I found it particularly helpful that the shade/colour intensity doesn’t change as the piece dries, and then is ironed (to set the dye). Any project that provides a quick pop of colour is a winner with me!

Whilst they wait to be used in a sewing project, the lengths of lace are kept uncreased by being stored on empty vintage wooden thread reels- so a good upcycling project that gives new life to two vintage items!

Monday Mood Board…

…Yes I know that it is actually Tuesday already, but I’ve been so busy lately that all the days seem to be blending into one!


Fortunately, spring seems to be on its way!

Plants sketchbook page-001  Plants sketchbook page-002

Monday Mood Board


Not quite a mood board as such- I found this wonderful bird print pasted into a Victorian scrapbook. I love the use of bright colours but within a limited pallet, and the birds are a reminder of the spring to come!

DIY Fabric Bow Hair Clip


Making fabric bow hair clips is a quick and easy project, and a great way of using favourite small pieces of fabric (for my bows I used some lovely textured woven material by the weaver Margo Selby- she used to sell offcuts when she exhibited at Art in Action in Oxford).


You will need:

  • Fabric (not something that frays wildly, as you will be working with quite a small piece of material)
  • A needle and thread
  • A hair clip
  • Scissors


The main part of the bow is essentially a hollow tube/rectangle, made by folding one piece of fabric in half, and then hemming the edges. I was working with off-cuts of different dimensions here, so (as you can see in the two pictures above) the blue bow was made by folding a long rectangle in half left-to-right, and the purple bow was made by folding a square in half top-to-bottom.


The band around the middle of the bow is made using a long, narrow strip of fabric with the rough edges of the two long sides folded underneath it and out of sight. The band is then sewn in place, gathering the centre of the ‘bow’.


The final task is to sew the bow onto a suitable hair clip.

Ta da, all finished!



Vintage Sylko Cotton Reels Advertising


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (see here, here and here), I collect vintage wooden Sylko cotton reels, and have about 130 different colours so far. The rainbow of colours makes a great display, and the names of the colours are very imaginative: according to the above advert from the late 1940’s there were 337 different colours (and I have a couple of reels with numbers in the 400s on them), so I can see why they had to be creative when it came to names!

Monday Mood Board

Motto Mood Board 2

Spring is coming!


There is now a Many Bright Things Pinterest account, where I am adding photographs and creating themed (mood)boards (attempting to be organised!). Joining Pinterest will enable me to post more photos, and to group lots of similar pictures together. I will be posting some different pictures on Pinterest (to those shown in blog posts), to provide a visual feast of pretty colours and fun projects! Here is a link to the Many Bright Things Pinterest account:


I hope that you will visit me there soon!

When I work out how(?!), I will add a Pinterest link to the blog sidebar (over there >>>>>>>>>>).

Vintage Lace Bracelet DIY

Vintage Lace Bracelet 8

Vintage Lace Bracelet 4

I have started to use some of the vintage lace that I dyed a couple of weeks ago (‘Dyeing Vintage Lace’ post). Here is a simple and quick upcycling project, that only requires a small piece of lace, so it’s a great way of using up a piece left over from a sewing project:

Vintage Lace Bracelet 1


  • Length of lace
  • Buttons (I used antique mother of pearl buttons)
  • Bias Binding
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors

Vintage Lace Bracelet 2

First cut the lace to size (long enough to wrap around your arm, with enough overlap for the button fastening). Next sew a strip of bias binding along each of the short sides, encasing the raw edges of the lace.

Vintage Lace Bracelet 3

In this project the buttonholes are some of the holes that are part of the lace’s pattern (yay, no sewing buttonholes!). Using suitable holes, work out the position of the buttons, and sew them in place. Sewing the buttons to the bias binding rather than just the lace will help the bracelet to keep it’s shape when worn.

Vintage Lace Bracelet 6Vintage Lace Bracelet 5

Ta da, one finished vintage lace bracelet!

Vintage Lace Bracelet 7

Monday Mood Board

Jar of silk threads

In this unassuming glass jar live all of my precious silk threads. I have come by most of them when buying assortments of vintage sewing items at car boot sales and jumble sales, and some of the nicest are on lovely old wooden reels. I use these lustrous silk threads on particularly special projects, like an embroidery for a friend’s wedding present, or decorating a silk blouse or scarf.

I think that on the whole stitchers must be quite clean and tidy people, as I’ve very rarely had to throw any second-hand thread away due to discolouration (and I am fussy about quality and condition!). I don’t buy any haberdashery or sewing supplies that smell like they may have come from the house of a smoker, as I’ve found that the smell is impossible to get rid of (sadly the same applies to second hand books). Pieces of fabric, lace or ribbon can, or course be washed, but this isn’t possible with reels of thread, and isn’t worth the trouble with balls of yarn.

It is amazing how many good quality sewing and other craft supplies you can find very cheaply if you are prepared to have a rummage in a charity shop or at a summer fete!

Happy hunting xxx

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