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

Posts tagged ‘craft’

The Natural History Museum

I recently popped into the Natural History Museum for a quick visit when I was in London for the day. I usually enjoy having a leisurely time admiring objects, hunting for inspiration, and making lots of sketches, but I only had time to look at some of the Asian and Islamic exhibits and snap a few photos.

I have roughly bunched the pictures into three categories: figures (above), patterns and metalwork.

The patterns made using inlaid mother of pearl, and those painted onto Islamic tiles, were particularly intricate and eye-catching.

The metalwork is particularly impressive considering the age of the exhibits, and the simple tools that would have been used to make them. The sheer opulence of some of the Indian pieces is stunning!

Even such a brief trip to the museum was inspiring, and there is always something new to see. Being able to admire such beautiful objects certainly makes me feel inspired to make things, and to learn new techniques and push my abilities.

Inspiration: Lovely Old Lace

There is a cabinet of lovely old lace fragments at my local museum, which always serves to remind me that it is good to tackle a more complicated craft project every now and then, and that it is amazing what craftsmen and women could make with their hands before machinery started to do it for us.

These pieces of handmade lace are so delicate and intricate, and must have taken an immense amount of time to complete: they certainly show the benefits of patience and dedication.

Small Storage DIY

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.

PLAIN-WOODEN-BOXES

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.

WOODEN-BOX-INSERTS

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.

FELT-LINED-TRAYS

Monday Mood Board

colour-matching

I am particularly partial to the shade of greeny-blue often described as eau-de-nil, and the contrast with the orange glaze on the rim of this bowl is rather eye-catching.

Weaving Patterns

I have been playing around with the small loom I have previously used to make scarves and cowls, experimenting with different textures and techniques.

yarn-weaving

I decided to weave several small sample pieces (approximately 8 x 13 cm / 3.5 x 5 inches), experimenting with different patterns and ideas for each piece. The width of the loom allows for two sample squares to be woven at once (which was a little fiddly), or the piece can be woven using only half the width of the loom.

The individual tapestries are great quick projects, and a good way to use up any pieces of yarn left over from other makes. I plan to make a few more small tapestries, and then combine them in a project to be shown in a future post…

Monday Mood Board

pantone-green-shoots

Bright greens make me think of spring- which is hopefully on it’s way!

Simple Storage Box DIY

To start the new year as I mean to go on, I have been having a tidy up of any bits and bobs that seem to be without a proper home. I needed a box to store some papers and photographs (a kind of memory box), but didn’t want to pay the kind of price required to purchase a nice decorative one! I found a brown cardboard box of perfect proportions at the local bargain shop, and decorated it myself using (imitation) gold leaf to make rustic-looking polka dots.

I drew circles in pencil onto the box as a guide (I drew around the base of a small plastic pot), and then glued torn up pieces of gold leaf in place (they were leftover pieces from other projects). For a super simple DIY project, I am pleased with the outcome: decorative storage at a bargain price! I like storage to be attractive as well as useful (you do have to look at it after all), and this technique could be applied to boxes of any size or shape, and would also be a nice way to make decorative gift boxes.

For a few other storage ideas please see these posts:

gold-dot-box

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