Making diamonds from paper

l’m sure you’ve all seen book sculptures before and if you’d like to make one just do a search for “how to make a book sculpture” and you’ll find lots of different tutorials. I’m not going to do a tutorial here because I forgot to take photographs of steps as I went along.

Now I know that some of us feel terrible if we tear up, fold, cut or paint on old books. It’s because we were taught how carefully to turn the pages, how valuable they were and how much we could learn from them. All of this still applies to books and I would never just damage a book for the sake of it. There are many books I have at home that I hope to keep always; books that were given to me and inscribed by special people in my life. I still have my Enid Blyton books and my Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (which sadly has one book missing from the box).

I don’t feel guilty though, folding an old paperback into a lovely diamond shape. I did this with a group of disengaged teens and they really enjoyed it. Two boys raced to see who could finish first, but the rest of us, just carefully folded and folded. It felt meditative and we found it a lovely quiet soothing task.

Making diamonds from paper

Making diamonds from paper

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Birds do it too

On our nature strip, we kept finding wire coat hangers. In the bin they’d go only to reappear. The mystery has finally been solved. Our street tree was pruned by the council and sadly that included our magpie’s nest. Luckily the chicks had flown the nest already. We had marvelled at how it had stayed in the tree through a wild and windy spring storm, but now we know why. The ingenious nest maker, was also an upcycling master. The nest was interwoven with wire coat hangers, string, and various pieces of wire. Sometimes, I feel clever, and a little virtuous too I suppose, when I upcycle. This nest though, has put me in my place. Fancy making your whole home from upcycled materials!

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An entirely upcycled home

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Look closely and you will see all sorts of materials being repurposed.

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Eco friendly lantern

At this time of year it’s easy to overspend, perhaps we don’t have anything to spend, or we just want to reuse, rather than add to the clutter in the world. Here is a very quick and easy candle holder to make, that addresses the points above.

All you need is a clean glass jar with the label removed, a paper doily, a piece of wire if you wish to hang your candle, some Mod Podge and a tealight candle.

Simply cut the paper doily in half, paste the Mod Podge on the jar, and place the doily on top, one half on each side of the jar. I chose to put the cut half on the bottom of the jar. Then paste more Mod Podge over the doily. If you want a handle, wrap a piece of wire around the top of the jar and then curve a second piece of wire, put a small loop in each end and attach to the wire already on the jar. And it’s done!

If you don’t have paper doilies you could also use an old book page, tissue paper, or newspaper and make cut outs too. PVA glue can also be used as an alternative to Mod Podge.

Safety warning; the wire handle will get hot when the candle is lit. Somebody, who shall remain nameless, picked up the candle by the handle during the photo shoot and burned her hand…

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Foxy Ladies

I’ve had it in my mind to make foxes for a while now. I have a lovely rusty chenille bedspread that I want to make some foxy cushions from. To start with though, I’ve made some foxes from a vintage, very orange, pure wool Australian blanket. I think they’re pretty foxy looking! For those of you who like Foxy Ladies and Jimi Hendrix, you might want to pop in here. This is something that makes me laugh hysterically every time and has my boys telling me I’m so weird….

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Frankie the foxy lady

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Felix the foxy lad is in Winter Owls shop with Frankie

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According to my boys, Frances is freaky looking. So I sent her off to in.cube8r gallery where she would fit right in.

This little piggy

A friend of mine asked if I’d make her daughter Kate one of my wool owl cushions, except not as an owl, as a pig. Also not a pink pig, but a blue one. Kate is turning thirteen and is obsessed with pigs. I found this a little challenging for a while as I didn’t want her piggy cushion to look too babyish or too girly as she is not a girly girl. Eventually I did what I often do and got out the materials to play with. I make my wool cushions from pure wool thrifted jumpers which I wash on the hot cycle. This causes the wool to felt and makes a lovely soft fabric. I chose a navy blue body, pale blue face and a soft dusty pink for the ears and nose. The eyes are two black buttons and the tail is embroidered on with soft pink thread. I was quite pleased with the finished piggy and am waiting to hear what Kate thinks of it when she gets it for her birthday in August.

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The owl cushion that is not an owl.

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I think he has a very enquiring expression on his face…

Stop collecting and start making

I have been collecting some lovely chenille bedspreads and woollen blankets from charity shops lately. Also, I am always on the lookout for doilies and old buttons. I have amassed quite a big pile, so to justify their presence in our home, I decided I really needed to do something with them before my husband returned them to charity shops. I’ve made a start with this lovely old pink chenille bedspread. Old chenille is really lovely and soft, perfect for making pillows or soft toys. It doesn’t matter if there is a hole or small stain on it either, you just place your pattern elsewhere. Some of these lovelies have made their way into my Etsy shop whilst some are going to be in a school fete in a few weeks. I just found a rusty coloured chenille bedspread too. I have in mind to make some foxes but am still figuring out a pattern and how I will decorate them.

Somebody who is very clever at figuring out patterns is Gentle Stitches. Recently she gave me a woolly award which sounded quite intriguing. The Blogging without obligation award and the best thing is, no rules or obligations. It is actually available for anyone to put on their blog, but I thought I’d copy Gentle Stitches and award it. I’d like to give this award to Re:retro and Poppytump because they make me laugh (in a good way)! See here for more information.

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I have got rather behind with my awards and the lovely Gentle Stitches also gave me a very shiny award, the Shine On award. Thank you Gentle Stitches! I would like to award this to The human Sarah because she draws the most beautiful little birds.

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A suitcase of owls

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Winter Owls tag made on my sewing machine and hand dyed with tea.

For Mum

Friends who share my eclectic taste, have sometimes told me I should have done something in Interior decorating and I think I would have loved that. I love putting together little vignettes and arranging and rearranging. The person I learnt this from is my mother and this post is for her. Mum has an amazing talent for getting an old piece of furniture or junk from the side of the road and then turning it into something wonderful that you would never have thought of doing. She also loves making collections and displays that delight the eye. She has a real talent.

I wanted to do this post for my lovely mum because recently, she severely broke her ankle and has to stay in bed for six weeks with her foot elevated (a real hardship for someone who loves getting out in her garden and restoring furniture). The photographs below are of mum and my stepfather’s beach house which I know she is missing very much. You can see her collection of vintage kangaroos and she loves them because sometimes roos will hop through the garden early in the morning. Don’t you just love her gate to nowhere, attached to no fence? Which of course, she found on the side of the road and rescued.

I hope you like this post Mum, you are an inspiration to me.

Jen x

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Carefully created vignettes are one of mum’s pleasures.

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Vintage kangaroos march along the bookshelf.

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Not only am I handsome, but also useful.

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A whimsical gate stands alone.