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.



This past week has been difficult and a mix of both excitement and sadness.
I’ll start with the sad part and end on the happy part.

On Wednesday evening my youngest child and I snuggled down to watch an episode of ‘six Puppies and Us’. We don’t own a dog, but my eldest has taken up drawing them … lots of dogs. She recently ran a competition called the twelve dogs of Christmas where people posted photos of their dogs and then others voted which should be the top thirteen (twelve dogs – one for each month + one for the cover of a calender). The dogs were voted for and the close of the competition was 6th January.
The programme, as the title suggests is about owners and their puppies. We hadn’t watched the first two programmes and just happened to come across one … The adolescent episode. What transpired was a lot of giggling from my daughter as each dog reached adolescence. However, there was one comment made by one owner that riled me. She said that she decided to buy a dog so that her children could understand death through a dog before having to cope with a person dying. I felt that that was a rather strange reason to take on the responsibility of bringing up a puppy. Anyway, it made my daughter and I have an interesting conversation about the validity of the woman’s comment and whether or not she was doing the right thing for her children.
Later, I went on to watch a film and death seemed to feature in this too. This time, a lad’s pet turtle passed away and was found by his step mother. Urgently, she ran out of the house to find a replacement – one that looked as identical as possible so the child wouldn’t discover the turtle’s sad demise.
It was nearing 11pm and I switched the movie off before it finished. Jobs beckoned me: the dishwasher needed to be filled and I had to go to work the next morning.
With the washing up sorted, I went to say goodnight, as I usually do, to our house rabbit Pom Pom. At that time of night I’m normally greeted with an excited bouncing rabbit eager to say hello and have her head smoothed and her ears rubbed. Not this time. I knew something was up. She was still. She was, well you know. I cried of course. Maybe the film and the programme were preparing me. Happenstance, coincidence. Whatever. Grief struck and I didn’t know how to tell my kid. We all were extremely fond of her. I will say though that despite how difficult this week has been, I have been moved by the outpouring of kind comments and thoughts from friends and family but also people I have met in creative groups and not actually met face-to-face. It’s certainly been appreciated and I know I am among some wonderful, thoughtful people who care very much and hurt too when they know you’re hurting or sad.
The rabbit’s life flashed before me: we went to see her as a tiny bundle of fluff and brought her back as a surprise on Christmas Eve seven years ago. My husband and I were like excited school kids as we hid the hutch in the boot of the car and then presented three squealing children with the bunny who looked like a pom pom ball. She was the most placid and delightful pet and now she’s gone … But Pom Pom won’t be forgotten.


Now to some fun news … My first printed book arrived on Wednesday: I’d spent ages planning out the pages and checked out various outlets for the best offers. I wanted something that would showcase my printmaking – the best prints from lino cuts and using the Gelli. Of course, when choosing the style and shape, I had to go for a square book. My portfolio of prints, now contained in a printed book, fit perfectly in my handbag and has arrived in time for workshops I’m starting to run in February. People taking part in my tutorials will now be able to flick through the glossy pages and find something that will hopefully inspire them in their own journey of creating 🙂
Best wishes everyone … And apologies for being away.



54/365 notebook/photo album


Photograph or scrapbook album with ring donuts (doughnuts).

i found some cool wrapping paper to make this black leafed album for storing 5″ x 7″ photographs.  I made a similar one with comic strip wrapping paper for students to sign when I left my job to train to become a teacher.

This is one of the easiest notebooks to make as you only need two pieces of mounting board and three or four pieces of black paper. The mounting board was covered with the wrapping paper.  Strips of ribbon were glued and spaced evenly across the front and back covers before I attached one piece of black to the front and one piece to the back, linking the pages through folding like a fan. 

Wall of Friendship Autograph Book

Craft 45/365 Wall of Friendship Autograph Book

see earlier blog entry for ‘coming soon’.

Here are the results of a day of gluing and constructing an autograph book designed for school leavers to add their email address or contact number on each brick.

step 1 – I dipped cotton threads into two parts PVA and one part water, then applied them to the outside of a self-seal plastic bag containing loose buttons.  

step 2 – once threads had been woven across both sides of the bag and allowed to dry, the bag was carefully removed.

step 3 – I cut cardboard sheets to the size I wanted for the notebook covers and wrapped the woven threads around the boards.  The buttons are free inside and can move about.  This may have been equally kinaesthetic with tiny bells so students can rattle the book at their friends to notify them of their arrival and attention!

step 4 – pages were cut to size and bricks drawn on each sheet.  The bricks were staggered for a 3D look as if the wall is being built as people add their contact details and fill the autograph book.

step 5 – holes were pierced using a needle ready for binding all the pages and covers together.ImageImageImageImage

Wall of Friendship Autograph Book Coming Soon!

Reflection on my first job

A long time ago, I left school, then returned to complete my teacher training and finally become a teacher.
As children move from primary school to secondary and secondary to work or university or college, many feel uncertain of their future or entering the unknown or unfamiliar. Friendships change and evolve. People grow up.

This Wall of Friendship Autograph Book is inspired by the time I had to leave school at the age of 16 for college with a new mindset, ambition and hope of fulfilling my dreams. Of course, there were challenges ahead, as there always are and often I found myself walking down undiscovered pathways including entering a male dominated industry at the age of 18 where I was teased about my strength and where men were under pressure to avoid swearing in the presence of a young girl. However, I pulled it off and earned the name ‘Queen of the Tyvek’ as I confidently worked a 1250 multi-lithographic printing press to churn out Tyvek printed manuals to be read underwater.

My book, I will be posting later today, isn’t printed on Tyvek, but does have a weaved cover inspired by the cotton which was notoriously difficult to work with and tear.



Double flip-over notebook – The coming soon project is now here!


Craft 41/365

Handstitched, double flip-over notebook  

Gold and metallic blue thread embellishes this dual notebook which can be flipped over and used for different purposes such as the front for names and addresses and the back notebook for jotting things of importance down.  


I found it quite a challenge covering the two notebooks with felting so that is was even, but was pleased with the final result.  Each set of page inserts have been hand stitched with gold for the binding to give it that royal appearance or luxurious look.Image


My next project is to finish the peacock mentioned in an earlier blog using the same dark blue felting for it to lie on in order to show off the beading and metallic thread…as yet, I haven’t decided on the type of notebook suitable for the peacock, so hopefully I’ll have some inspiration over night!

Notebook Giveaway – reminder … Contest giveaway ends midnight tonight January 31st!

Reminder of contest details:

Here are the notebooks that I’ve been making and are part of the notebook free prize giveaway. There are six. If you would like to be entered please comment with the following number corresponding with the notebook you would like to win at the end of this blog page:
1 hexagon deer notebook
2 gecko glow-in-the-dark notebook
3 stitched chicken notebook
4 crocheted bird on rainbow fence notebook
5 stitched bird on calico with textured leaves notebook
6 stitched bird painted in coffee on calico

My daughter will draw blogger names from a hat Saturday 1st February. Only one winner. Good luck. Thanks for bloggers who have already commented, expressing reasons why they would like to win one.


Hexagonal Deer Notebook

Hexagonal Notebook
Craft 27/365
Relief cutting on mounting board and varnished with stitched binding.

Final notebook in the free prize draw give away. Please enter your comments below stating why you would like to win a notebook. Draw takes place Saturday February 1st. Good luck…
All notebooks are one-off handmade and crafted items. Enjoy!



Mini notebook

Craft 17/365
Mini notebook with Teabag folded rosette

Tissue paper is great for Teabag folding as it is easy to make firm creases in the paper, however ‘wet’ glue makes it difficult to reposition the ‘petals’. This rosette was created using squares of tissue paper and folding each one exactly the same way before slotting each piece underneath the previous one.

Mini books are ideal for collecting prompts while out and about. I’ve been teaching creative writing to three of my classes and became motivated to make a ‘prompt book’. So, for those creative writers out there who might come across this blog, here is a list that we came across today that might in turn inspire you to get a pen and paper out.

Liquorice Tin
A running shoe
A cricket ball
A photograph
Lucky Dip