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.
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.
Small, plain wooden trays are often used as packaging for small items such as tealight candles or craft items, and are useful for organising small items. The trays are very plain, and sometimes only roughly finished, but it is quick and easy to turn them into decorative and useful drawer or desk-top organisers.
First use some sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges. I simply decorated these trays by cutting felt inserts to sit in the bottom of each compartment- this is a useful project for using up fabric odds and ends.
The compartments were measured, and squares of different coloured felt cut out and fixed into the bottom of each compartment using a small amount of glue.
The trays could alternatively be lined using leather or decorative papers, or be decorated using paint. I have these trays in the bottom of a shallow drawer in my jewellery bench, and they are perfect for holding jewellery making materials and semi-finished items.
I haven’t made a friendship bracelet since I was at school, but decided to experiment with the method as I have plenty of embroidery thread in lovely colours.
As you can see, I experimented with a few different colour combinations and patterns. The free-form pattern below I made up as I went along, experimenting with changing direction.
I wanted to use the finished piece as something other than a bracelet, so decided to make a short length to use as a zipper pull on a jumper.
As I had cut longer strands of thread than I required for the pull, I left a gap and then knotted a second section below the first to use in another project.
I trimmed the ends and cut the top section free from the bottom section.
The top section became the zipper pull, with the loop used to thread it through the metal ring on the zipper.
This was a good way to use up some of the odds and ends of thread that I had in my stash: now I have to decide on projects for the other pieces that I made…:-)
If you fancy having a go for yourself (and didn’t learn how to make these as a child) then there are plenty of helpful guides and how-to videos to be found online.
I have made a few decorative hair clips this year, and really like using feathers mixed with something sparkly. The ones shown here are rather dressy- the two mainly blue ones were made to wear to weddings. It isn’t very clear in these pictures but the clip with the peacock feather is backed by a fluffy white marabou feather, adding some width to the clip.
The brown, gold and black clip in the centre (in the picture above) is a more subtle design, and I made it to wear to work on bad hair days! It consists of a row of diamontes sewn onto a piece of black patent leather, with feathers glued to the back of the leather. To the back of this was then glued a second piece of leather, onto which had been sewn a metal hair clip.
Decorative hair clips are a definite stash-busting project, and they are so quick and easy to make. Vintage brooches or earrings can be up-cycled to provide a sparkly base for a decorative hair clip, and all sorts of haberdashery bits and pieces can be added. I plan on making a couple of clips to give away as Christmas presents…!
I’ve been having a flick back through some of my sketch/scrap books for inspiration…
They contain a mixture of sketches, material samples, scraps, magazine articles and artists cards- in fact, anything I find interesting! In the picture above I had glued a (dried) pressed plant stem on a page next to a sketch of the living plant.
I try to arrange individual pages around a particular theme, often exploring an idea for a project (in the picture above and the picture below I was looking at the theme of wings and feathers whilst developing a jewellery design).
In contrast to my slightly obsessive quest for a neat finish when crafting, I quite like the slightly haphazard nature of my sketchbooks, and enjoy spending time adding new ideas.
A few weeks ago I posted a leather bracelet DIY project: I recently found a small scrap of lovely salmon pink leather, and this seemed the ideal purpose for it.
In between craft projects (and waiting for inspiration to strike) I decided that I fancied giving some of my craft tools a quick make-over. I use these tools a lot (mainly for jewellery making), and why shouldn’t they be beautiful (or maybe just a little more decorative) as well as useful?
It’s also nice making something that you own unique, especially when the item was shop-bought. It was rather like doodling: a calm and quiet project that gave my brain time to think of what I would like to make next…