Concertina books … Have fun with squares, rectangles, circles!

Ever wondered what to do with oddments of wrapping paper, patterned envelopes, prints and paper?
How about having a go at making one of these? They’re easier than they look.

The mini one requires 8 squares measured at about 8cm across; the spiral book requires three A3 sheets cut in half lengthwise.

If anyone is interested in a pictorial tutorial, please comment below and I’ll put one together :–). Simples!
The last image, showing the spiral book closed, is part of a pack of happy mail going off to Spain.


3D paper flowers made in under 30 minutes – mother and daughter challenge :-)

imageGood evening from my sunny Somerset town 🙂  Hope everyone is well and enjoying the spring flowers, like I am!

Tonight, I’m going to pass over this blog to my 13-year-old, because she taught me how to make this 3D flower.

So in a photo diary style, here is a step by step on how to make one.  Anyone got any remnants of wrapping paper they want to use up?  Maybe you’re a Gelliprint enthusiast and have loads of prints that you could use?  Perhaps, you even like collecting patterned envelopes for iris folding or enjoy making teabag origami cards.  Whatever your passion for papers and prints, here’s how.

step 1

imageCut out three squares.  The flower I made at the top of this blog post was from using 15x15cm squares, but my daughter uses much smaller squares you can see that you can use even card offcuts.

step 2

fold each square diagonally corner to corner to form three triangles

step 3, step 4 and 5
Fold each triangle in half again and in half again so you end up with three small folded triangles.

Snip off a small piece where the centre of all the folds are (the centre of your original square sheets). The hole will be where you insert the stem of your flower 🙂
step 6

Two ways of doing this: open out each folded sheet (back to original square).  There will be a small hole at the centre.  Use the creases as a guide and draw 8 petals to create a flower – each crease being the centre of a petal.  Or if you’re brave, you can draw one petal on the folded triangles and cut out.  Try both methods and find one that you feel comfortable with.

Step 7

when you’ve cut one flower out, you can draw around this for the other two flowers (makes it quicker to do and the flowers will be the same size).

step 8

hopefully this won’t sound two complicated! I did mention to my daughter afterwards that it would be less fiddly to start with four squares … but this is her blog post!

Take the first flower and cut away 1 petal

take the second flower and cut away 2 petals

imageand take the third flower and cut away 3 petals

step 9

Join the loose petals together with tape to form fourth flower OR cut a fourth flower out of another print, piece of paper or card

Step 10

Join the section of each flower to form whole ones again

step 11

insert one flower inside another then using either a pencil or even a crochet hook/ knitting needle, roll each petal clockwise direction to give it a curl
step 12

to make the stem, roll a printed sheet the length you want the stem to be in the same way you rolled the petals.  We used a crochet hook to get the desired thickness and height

Step 13
Insert the stem through the centre of each flower layer and pull through just enough (about 1-2cm) to make the middle section or stamen of your 3D flower. Attach the lower flower to the stem using tape or glue.

Step 14

Use a pair of scissors to ‘shred’ the 1-2cm piece for the stamen and separate slightly.

Step 15
Check out your flower, admire it, adjust it, doodle on it or present it to someone you love 🙂

Facts and Evidence

My first drawing was of a pair of shoes … They’re made of velvet and I bought them just before Christmas (in the sale) for £4!

The drawing reminded me of a couple of real stories – hope you can read them on the journal page. As a kid, I watched a programme called Indelible Evidence. It showed how a criminal was brought to justice just because he had an unusual bite. He’d taken a bite out of an apple and tossed it away. The partially eaten apple became the evidence. As children, part of growing up is testing boundaries and seeing what you can or cannot get away with. Children worry about getting told off or having items confiscated due to their behaviour. Being a teacher has shown me the many excuses children try out when they fail to bring their homework in: one told me his house burnt down. Have you ever used an excuse as a child why you didn’t do your homework? I confess, I often left mine to the last minute. I remember being asked to make a 3D junk clock. Reluctantly, I scrabbled around the house and selected a few items such as a cereal box and the lid of of the toothpaste. Randomly, I glued the pieces on and created something that vaguely could be called a clock. Feeling sheepish, I handed it over to my tutor and looked at the floor so he couldn’t see my expression. Odd that something I rushed together was praises. All I wanted to do was chuck it in the trash!
One of the stories in my new journal tells about the time my daughter did do her homework only for her sister to sabotage it! I’ve witnessed pranks being made by adults for adults and enjoyed playing the game Balderdash. My youngest played this game over the festive break and invented a whole new currency: stirfry!
One is about a man my mum worked with many years ago who had very large feet and was the only male worker in a catering department. He liked playing with flour and generally made very clumsy attempts at cooking. The other tales are about my youngest – she loves drawing. Enjoy! I’ll leave the Kitkat story to your imagination!


Back to work!!!

Hi all! Hope you had a lovely Christmas/seasonal break. I unfortunately spent most of it ill from a stomach bug … Not much fun, especially when having to drive for over two hours with eldest so she could see her boyfriend … and today is back to work day!

Anyway, to mark the fact I’m feeling a bit better, despite missing virtually all the festivities, I embarked on making a hand cut rubber stamp. This involved using a gift from my DH for my birthday nine days ago.

I first sketched an outline of houses, taking my inspiration from Copenhagen and the colourful buildings, on the 2″ x 1″ eraser and then selected the smallest gauge lino cutter from my box.


I did this while watching the daftness of James May messing around with action man figures and sindy dolls ….

I then cut around the houses for more definition


Meanwhile, Nikon was up to her antics again. She really does like climbing the Christmas tree!



After rescuing the cat, who didn’t want to come out of the tree, I applied a thin layer of acrylic paint. Here’s one of the first impressions from my rubber stamp.

20141229-071839-26319206.jpg as the print is tiny, I used a black fine-nibbed pen to add further detail to the windows.

Now … I’d better get up, de-ice the car and head out to the office. Take care everyone if you’re out and about in the snow and ice and stay warm xx

Writer badges

Hi all 🙂

I’m so excited! My twelve-year-old has just finished writing her first novel and when I asked her how long it is she replied, “47 chapters”. I mentioned in an earlier post that she was busy writing one, while I was taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last month. I haven’t been allowed to read it as she wanted to show it to me when she’d finished it. So last night inspired me to get out the frosty shrink plastic and I made us a pair of a typewriter badges! First I sketched out typewriter using my stencil I made a few weeks ago as a reference:

I majorly shrunk it down to fit a circle of shrink plastic measuring 8cm across. Once I was content with the black image on the frosty plastic, I baked it in the oven under 175 degrees until it shrank to the size of a ten pence piece. Next, I found some glitter glaze and painted on the reverse before adding a brooch pin to the backs. There’s enough space on the typewriter paper to write her name using a permanent marker (particularly as she has an unusual name spelling).
Cute don’t you think?


The ties arrived in time :-)

How about a handprinted tie for Christmas? My dad always had to wear a suit and tie to work and I can remember as a kid going into a tailors many years ago while he was measured up for a tailor-made jacket. He also used to traipse across town in search of leather-soled shoes so they lasted. To him, that was money well spent. My mum would also painstakingly iron his shirts and fold them as if they’d just been bought so that they could neatly sit inside the wardrobe piled up on the shelves rather than be hung up on a hanger. Likewise, I seldom saw my grandfather out of a proper shirt; he always dressed for dinner.
So, I thought long and hard what I could buy my dad for Christmas this year. He, of course, dresses up in shirt and tie for restaurant meals, but when I saw him yesterday he was wearing a thread-bare sweater and jogging bottoms – his garage clothing. Hmm, should I fork out for something he’s unlikely to wear? Should I invest the next two weeks into trying to knit a new sweater for him (impossible) or handprint him a unique tie that he could wear on special occasions, such as my daughter’s forthcoming birhday?
I chose the latter and ordered five plain white silk ties (well, some might not turn out quite right). Then I added some fabric paints to the list began considering designs for it.
This is what I came up with – a handprinted silk tie – this is one I sold today at an orchid and craft fair :-). The other is off public view as it needs to remain a surprise!


First ever crocheted necklace

Over the year I’ve achieved several firsts at crafts:
Pewter casting
Patchwork chicken pin cushions
Toothbrush bracelet (yes, really)
Printing on a gelli plate
Completing a 39 square embroidery project
Painting a mural on a wall
Creating a magazine-rolled pen pot
Book sculpting
Holding my first art exhibition (outside of college)
Creating my first knitting pattern and publishing it
Taking part in the National Novel Writing Month, achieving the winner’s 50,000 word badge and working full time!
Stitched my first teddy bear out of a cushion cover …

…just to name a few! There have also been many crafts I’ve revisited and enjoyed very much such as drawing and sketching, book making, lino cutting and printing, pyrography and writing haiku. Time and again, I reminded myself that it would be a huge challenge to produce a craft a day as this blog suggests in its name. I mostly achieved that – and sometimes posted more than one post in a day – until I began to work full time and seeing my son go off to uni. It was only when we got to November I reasoned with myself that I could produce better work if I spent more time on it than pushing myself to get that blog post out before midnight!
There have only been a few days when I’ve not added a blog entry … that’s only recently. This is because I’ve realised there are some things that need to stay hidden for a bit so that ideas can grow and creativity can happen :-). Also, some opportunities happen when you least expect them … and aren’t even consciously looking for them (such as when I found the route to buying my first printing press) and having one of illustrations published (outside of the blogesphere) this week!!! That really was exciting!
Now, I have editing to do on my newly written novel – a creative journey in itself, so if this blog goes quiet you’ll know that I am still busy creating. But … I’ll be back and hope that you will drop by and say hello in the comments now and again.

Meanwhile, here is another first: I’ve never made a crocheted necklace or piece of jewelery before. I was inspired by a colleague wearing a knitted bauble necklace at work today. She had a lovely deep red jumper on and a long necklace. As I’m not keen on knitting, I decided to attempt to make one using a size 3 crochet hook and a ball of cotton string :-). I chose string mainly because I’m not keen on the wool colours I have in my cupboard; each of them were bought with specific projects in mind or I’ve been given random odd balls of yarn by my mum who knits trauma teddies for children who’ve been displaced through natural disasters. I’m also thinking that I might dye the string now that I’ve made the necklaces. What do you think?



Craft Day for Children’s Hospice

Hi everyone! Today is the craft fair I’ve been busy preparing for. We have thick fog outside, but I hope that doesn’t deter people from coming – it’s better than rain, don’t you think?
Yesterday meant stepping away from WordPress and Facebook to manage my sewing machine. I made my first string of bunting for the table and this cute Kissen bear (a bear made from a cushion). Cute isn’t he? I’m sure he’ll be a winner today.


a late Monday night – so photographs of a washed out carnival


Every year we’ve only had to walk to the end of our road to watch the carnival.  Today was no exception, however the carnival organisers decided to change the route and instead of doing the straight circuit, they travelled down the High Street and extended the route so it covered 2.5 miles.  We left our house at 7.30 and the street was empty apart from a couple of Candy Floss and Burger Vans.  We walked back home at 7.35 after a marshall said it wouldn’t reach us for another 30 minutes.  One and a half hours later, we heard music in the distance, so we left our house again and caught sight of the first majorettes.  The rain fell; puddles formed and children cried.  For the first time ever, the carnival ended at the bottom of our road – literally. Float after float got stuck at the bottom of the hill and we witnessed large gaps between floats and some floats were empty of people – they got off, so we watched silent floats pass by.  It was such a shame and there were many disappointed children, however, I admire those little ones that braved the downpours and the long walk as we were still hearing the noise of the floats, when back in the warm, at nearly 11pm!

Mini books – a shed load of colour!


I decided to make a miniature watercolour book this evening. Here is the start of it

And now the stitching is done, I need to find a suitable cover

Then I can have a go at using this Pentel Aqua pen/brush (which I think is awesome as I won’t need to carry a pot of water around with me when I go out tomorrow collecting autumn leaves for my next printing project 🙂