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

Archive for July, 2015

Monday Mood Board: Vintage Brooches


Inspired by a recent post on the lovely re:retro blog featuring 1950s brooches, I thought I’d dig a few of mine out. I wear them a lot in the winter on jacket and coat collars/lapels (and sometimes on hats), but am going to try to remember to wear them more in the summer too.

Making brooches is also a great DIY project, as so many different designs and mediums can be used. Here are a few I have made over the years, using techniques including crochet, enamelling, embroidery and silver smithing:


The brooches I have collected tend to fall roughly into one of three categories: brooches made by contemporary designer-makers, vintage sparkly brooches, and ‘novelty’ brooches. Here are a few of my favourites:

Contemporary designer-maker brooches:


Vintage sparkly brooches:


‘Novelty’ brooches:


Well-chosen brooches are like a little artwork that you can wear, and it’s nice to see that more and more contemporary designer-makers in the UK seem to be including them in their collections. Long live the humble brooch!

Decorated Clothes Pegs DIY


With the (mostly) summery weather in England at this time of year, it is nice to hang the laundry in the garden to dry. The humble clothes peg comes in to its own in the summer, a very simple tool that does the job perfectly! I decided to make some old wooden pegs look a little more interesting with this VERY easy and quick DIY project.


Woven cotton fabric- a non-stretchy fabric is easier to use than a stretchy one

Wooden clothes pegs- they are easier to glue fabric to than plastic pegs

A ruler- if you arent using helpfully geometric-patterned fabric!

Glue- I used Bostik All Purpose Glue, which dries quickly

Sharp scissors


Measure the top and bottom surfaces of the clothes pegs, and cut out two fabric rectangles for each peg.


 Next, glue the strips into place on each clothes peg, and leave the glue to dry. And that’s it. Really, it is that quick and simple!gingham-clothes-pegs

I apologise for no lovely pictures of the clothes pegs at work, securing washing on the line in a summer breeze, with pretty garden flowers and buzzing bees… I made the pegs yesterday evening, and today it is raining for the first time in several weeks. I think I tempted fate…

This is a great ‘make do and mend’ or upcycling project, as you can smarten up tired-looking old wooden pegs using scraps of fabric left over from other projects.

Monday Mood Board


Teeny-tiny flowers in teeny-tiny vases… what’s not to like?!


These photographs are actually larger than life-size, the real vases and flowers really are very small…


Leather and Diamonte Cuff DIY

I was looking through some scraps of brightly coloured leather and came up with this easy DIY project. As only two small strips of leather are required, this is a good way to upcycle part of a damaged vintage leather article such as a glove or leather jacket.



  • Two leather pieces long enough to reach around your wrist
  • Two rectangular end caps/crimps with integral loops
  • Diamontes/crystals (either individual or a strand)
  • A jewellery clasp (I used a lobster clasp)
  • Snips/wire cutters
  • Flat-nosed pliers
  • A leather punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue


First cut two strips of leather the same width as the end caps. When deciding on the length you need to take into account the extra length added by the clasp, jump rings and end caps.

Two strips of leather are used to hold the diamontes securely, and to make sure that the bracelet is comfortable to wear. At this stage leave the bottom strip of leather a little wider than the top piece, it can be trimmed after the diamontes have been set into the leather.


(yes, I have to label my nice sharp fabric scissors so that I don’t absent mindedly blunt another pair by cutting paper, wire etc!)


On the back of the top piece of leather mark where you want the diamontes to sit (you can see the blue dots that I marked on the back of my piece of leather below). For my design I found it easier to start in the middle of the strip and work outwards.


Next, cut the holes using a leather punch. Piercing round holes for the square diamontes helps them to be held securely, but the outer edge of the holes must be no wider than the outer edges of the diamontes and their settings (slightly too small holes are better than too large).


For my bracelet I used individually set diamontes/crystals that came as a strip, and I cut off each one that I needed using wire cutters. To set the diamontes into the bracelet, push them through the holes from the back of the leather, and then glue the top strip of leather to the bottom strip.

For the design that I used it was easier to only set one or two diamontes at a time, glue that section of leather to the bottom strip, and then set the next diamonte, and so on from one end to the other.


Now trim the bottom piece of leather so that it is in line with the top strip.


Next place a small amount of glue on the short edge on one end of the bracelet, and using flat nosed pliers squeeze an end cap closed around the end of the leather. Repeat with the other end of the bracelet.


The final step is to attach one jump ring to one of the end caps, and use the other jump ring to attach the clasp to the other end cap.

blue-leather-bracelet      blue-leather-cuff

Et voila, one finished leather and diamonte bracelet/cuff!




Sharing Some Favourites

I thought I’d share a few favourite blogs with you, although I have to admit to admiring a lot more than the limited number mentioned here! I don’t want to bombard readers with an overwhelming list, so thought I’d mention a few now, and some more at a later date!

Although I do follow some amazing craft blogs, I also get inspiration from other websites, particularly those featuring ‘design’ subjects such as interiors, art and graphic design etc. In no particular order, here is a range of craft, vintage and design blogs that I have found inspiring:

  • Who’d Have Thought features a well-curated range of art, design and craft projects, including upcycling and DIY. There are articles by different designers/makers, and lots of projects to try.
  • re:blog is written by a couple of clever graphic designers, and features all sorts of paper and design goodness, from original designs to their ever-growing collection of pop-up books (a favourite of mine!). Lots of very colourful pictures and typography.
  • Yvestown features some beautiful interiors, plus craft projects, and the photography always uses light in a lovely way.
  • re:retro blogs about quirky vintage finds in Australia. Amazingly- as I live on the opposite side of the world (in England)- this has included some vintage crockery made only a few miles away from where I live. Amazing how small the big, wide world can feel with the aid of the internet!
  • Muymolon is a Spanish blog (thank goodness for the translation tool!) that features some lovely design and interiors, often featuring quirky (but attractive) homewares.

If there are any inspiring blogs or websites that you would like to recommend, then please leave a comment!

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