Shrink plastic napkin rings and calligraphy tag

Throughout the summer I collected various books and tools to try my hand at calligraphy. My mum had a couple of books on her bookcase, still unused and I managed to pick one up in a second-hand book store. I’ve grown very conscious of my handwriting since injuring my writing hand and often switch to using my other hand to do certain jobs (I even noticed yesterday while using the brayer, I resorted to my left hand and collected the assortment of paints for the lino print with my right). Everyday my work results in me scribbling something down on an envelope or two rather than typing address labels.
I admire the work of the ancient scholars who produced illuminated manuscripts and all the beautiful artwork which accompanied the lettering. I knew that by finding the right resource book, I’d feel more inclined to practise the letters one by one. It was only recently, while browsing messages on a social networking forum that someone recommended the book ‘Written Letters’ by Jacqueline Svaren. The book boasts ’22 alphabets for calligraphers’. There’s bound to be one alphabet style I like, I thought.
True enough, I found one. It wasn’t until I read the inscription message at the top that I realised the letters were drawn using the pen nib had the same name as my son’s! I followed the technique instructions – to draw the insides of the letters first and was quite pleased with the results.

The birds I sketched out are echoed on the shrink plastic. I cut strips of the plastic and heated them in the oven, watching them curl and twirl under the heat until they’d shrunk. While the strips were still hot and pliable, I moulded them around a bottle to gain a large enough curve to create a ring shape that could then be used as a napkin holder.


Of course, I have plenty more practise to do before it become natural and I don’t have to keep checking back for reference!

Summer Journal … Day 5

Today’s prompt for July 5th by Myfanwy Hart was to respond to ‘What do you prefer?’ This was to make a statement about media preferences.  Now, if I was going to decide whether I prefer watching a film to reading a book, I would have to say the book comes tops every time.  Just like a book has to hook me within the first few pages or it lays discarded, a film has to grab my attention.  More often than not, I give up half way through, much to the annoyance of other family members, especially when weeks later, they may watch the same film and I will comment on a section and say, ‘I haven’t seen this before’! They will argue and say, ‘Yes, you have.’ What they really mean is, they’ve seen it and even spot the errors, the stray microphone, the skid marks in a desert from a previous shoot etc and therefore, I must have picked up on this too.

I do enjoy a bit of Sherlock drama (the movies and the TV series).  I also like books which have clear sections in them so that I can return to them several days or even weeks later and still find my place.  I prefer hard copies of books over ebooks too.  One thing I had to free myself on was underlining and adding notes in text books during my university days – harder to do this with ebooks – and I can still hear my dad shouting in my ear, ‘turn those pages from the corner and don’t crease the page!’  He taught me to protect books from a very young age.  Apparently there was a way to have your palm facing up and allowing it to glide against the back of the page before turning it over.

For my summer journal page, I decided to not only write on labels what I prefer in media ie newspaper over novel or film over Youtube and so on, but I also encouraged my OH, son and youngest daughter to take part too.  These were then attached to four bendy straws to make the appearance of a hat stand (of course), because as you may recall,  my perfect day would be heading out to a boat on the river armed with a sketchbook and some jazz music playing in the background.

Duct Tape Book Cover




Craft 65/365. Crafting Together a Duck Tape Book Cover

Can you believe it?  I was strolling back to my car minding my own business when out of the corner of my eye, something ‘winked’ at me from a shop window.  No, it wasn’t my reflection looking back at me as I was wiping some dust out of my eye.  If Duct or Duck Tape or even Gaffer Tape could talk and move, it would surely have shouted out ‘pick me, pick me!’ and jump up and down, ping pong from the window pane to the floor and roll right at me.

It wasn’t the boring grey duct tape that my husband stores in his tool box; this was a stack of Duck branded duct tape of orange, blue, black, white, striped, zebra print … and … PENGUIN!!!


My little girl had already mentioned she wanted a bag made (didn’t realise the connection until this morning why – will explain later).  I cut strips of 14 inch lengths in turquoise blue tape x 8 and then repeated this with PENGUIN tape 🙂

The blue tape was then backed onto the penguin tape with a slight overlap to help each strip join together.  Once all 8 blue strips were backed onto the 8 penguin strips I had a Duck tape mat the correct size to cover a paperback best seller.  The mat was long enough to allow each side to be folded over and stuck down to act as a ‘pocket’ for the book to slide into and also be easily removed so that when the book is read, you can put the cover onto another book.  I chose to keep the penguin pattern inside my cover and the plain blue on the outside.  This was because I wanted to add decoration to the front.image

My daughter cut strips for her book cover – to carry her Minecraft manual so it doesn’t get wet.  We’ve had a few incidences where her waterbottle has leaked in her bag 😦 She wanted to do the reverse of my pattern (have the penguins on the front) and we had to cut slightly longer lengths as book was a bit bigger than my paperback.   I have to say I was impressed with my twelve-year-old’s patience as she then proceeded to cut out individual letters for the front of her cover to spell out the word Minecraft…my mat has a permanent reminder of this as it now has Minecraft scored into it. Thanks sweetheart!
 I’m guessing this is a very special cover that she doesn’t intend on using for anything other than Minecraft, and she built it herself!


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. 

Stitched peacock


The stitching for this next project took time to complete … Just need to add a little bit of colour before turning it into a book cover.  So far, I’m pleased with the results but want to find some small beads and metallic thread to give the birds a special glow.  Then the recipient will be able to use her notebook!

Sculpted Book

Craft 23/365. Book sculpture

Something I’ve not tried before.
What do you do with the books you don’t like? Send them to charity shops? Sell them at boot sales? Pass them onto other avid readers? No, experiment with a different art form. Create something new. What better way of turning something I didn’t like into a symbol of love in the hope that it will give the book a longer shelf life … As an ornament (even if it only stays there for Valentine’s Day next month!).


Telephone Box Book Exchange

Telephone Box Book Exchange

Not far from where we live is a little village which has turned a disused telephone box into a place where the public can take books and leave them for others to share and exchange. The telephone box is unusually painted green, rather than the traditional red that is familiar in the UK.

It makes passers-by smile (including me and my family who love reading).