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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Abandoned clock on: January 26, 2014 01:23:34 PM
When we moved into our new house we discovered all sorts of very weird and wonderful things left behind and a few mundane things that were just plain ugly. One of those ugly things was the kitchen clock. Black plastic. Vaguely reminiscent of a bin bag Cry.

Sadly this thing keeps really good time and so we kept it. And blushed every time we looked at it Embarrassed.

This week I had a revelation: perhaps if I covered up the black plastic it would look better. I tried papier-macheing it with a nice floral paper. Yes much better Smiley, but the black still showed through and really, flowers are not my thing Undecided.
Ok, so the principal works, now I had to decide what I really wanted. I decided to go with some of the old library book pages that I've used before.

Much, much better Grin. It now looks a lot less embarrassing to look at. And much more suitable to the home we are building.
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / String vase/lantern. on: January 26, 2014 12:55:49 PM
Aeons & aeons ago I made a stick vase/lantern. It still makes me smile Smiley when I look at it. But it's all on its own one side of the landing whilst the other side looks bare Sad.

I don't have sufficient prunings to make another similar one, so I had to think of something else. Undecided

Well, I use a lot of string in the garden, maybe one of those string vase things would be appropriate. So I tried it. Wink Easy enough to do, especially because I chose a very straight sided jar.

It's nice, but doesn't feel finished yet. It needs some ornamentation, but I haven't decided what yet. Maybe something to bring outside in?
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / My Chair, my way. on: January 26, 2014 11:41:32 AM
"I don't think you'll like it when it's done" was the response my mother-in-law gave when I described this project to her.
She's wrong. I do like it, very much.


My dining room chairs are wooden, rather elegant (I think) and really quite uncomfortable to sit on for a long period of time. I have ordinary cushions, which just slide off and don't seem to cushion the awkward bits. So, having a bit of carpet underlay left over from when we had the carpet redone, I cut one to size. Actually, not bad, especially considering that there was just a thin skim of foam really. In fact, it felt so much better, that I cut pieces to fit all 6 chairs (This was in mid December, a day before I went down with a bug that lasted until beyond the new year-yuk) and we used them, just a foam cut-out, for Christmas dinner! However they still slipped off the chairs-in fact, even more so because we sat on the chairs for longer because they were more comfortable.

Anyway, over the last week, I've finally acquired a round-to-it and covered them, with old tee shirts, which fitted them so nicely. I've added ties to the back so they no longer slip off the chairs and I have some of my favourite old shirts back in use. Wins all round I think.

Oh, and they are thrifty because it is all from recycled material I had on hand anyway: nothing new used at all.

Here are 3 so you can get the idea,

and a close-up of one, so you can see where the ties are.

The joy of the ties is that they are teeshirt material, so all I had to do was to cut a thin piece, stretch it like teeshirt yarn and tack it to the back Wink

to make the body of they cushion cover, I turned the teeshirt inside out, put the cushion insert inside, pinned through all layers and then, using the zipper foot on my sewing machine, sewed 3/4 of the way round the outside. Simples!
4  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Team Watches on: December 22, 2013 02:00:38 PM
We have a kite team, which I may have mentioned once or twice here Wink. Our team uniform is black, as are our kites, but each member of the team has a specific colour which is used to help distinguish the kites in the sky. Well, this year I found some watches that actually come in the colours of every member of the team Smiley a harder job than you might think!

We have a standard size stencil (the smallest my cutter can manage to do and keep tidily) of our logo, that we use to sign whatever random piece of kit that gets passed round at festivals (posters, kites, hats, shirts, mugs, tablecloths, winders e.t.c.). We each keep one in our wallets, and for me, it lurks there all year, not just in festival season. I dragged it out of my purse to use to highlight each gift this year.

I used a morsel of foam to apply the acrylic paint I used. On the acetate stencil, I used spray glue on the reverse in order to make sure I had a good seal on the concave curved surface of the watch strap, and I quickly learned that I needed to reapply the glue for each watch. The acrylic will wear off the silicone of the snap on straps eventually, but it shouldn't be a problem. Yes, that's the stencil in the centre.

From pink, going clockwise: Irene, Val, Pete, Mick, Keith, Paul, me & Doug.
5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Nanny Ogg's Midwifery Bag on: December 22, 2013 12:48:47 PM
Recently I got involved in the Discworld swap.

My partner said she had a special interest in Nanny Ogg and I  kind-of got inspired. It turned into a huge parcel, thank goodness for inland postage!


this is the bag and most of it's contents.

I don't have any before pictures, to show how much it's changed, nor any more detail pictures, sadly.
It started off as a tan, pristine briefcase, lined and pocketed, neat and tidy. I got it from the thrift store, but I suspect it was an unwanted gift. It had a a great clasp and I decided that if nothing else worked, I could salvage that for the bag I wanted to send. Nanny Ogg is a witch who gets most of her things by hand-me-down, a pristine tan briefcase would really be nothing of hers. and besides there wasn't the space for any of the bits and pieces she'd need.

The first thing I did was to polish it with black shoe polish, to darken it, well, it sort of worked, but was nowhere near enough. So then I worked on the shape so I took out the lining, and removed the dividers which gave a lot more space and made it look a lot more like a doctor's bag, so I was much happier with that, but it looked brand new still and still dark tan. Sigh.

So I took some sandpaper to it, rubbed it down all over to give a better key for the polish and polished again. Better, much better, but still not quite dark enough. And still looking new.

I took the sandpaper to it again and concentrated on the edges, corners and likely wear places. Much better, beginning to look as if it's seen a little life. But now all the bits I've been really aggressive with are far to pale. Polish it again. Yes, I like that, the colour looked a lot better and it didn't look so new.

But Nanny Ogg has a cat, a really mean and viscious cat, It had to have some claw marks. I took a scalpel to it: it pretty much healed immediately. Hmm, I took a nail to it, that made good scratch marks, but I had real difficulty making them parallel, like claws. Aha! I went into the kitchen and found the carving fork: perfect (but it did take alot of washing up afterwards). Time for another polish. Good, but it looked too nice still.

Time for a rethink. It needed repairs, after all it had been used for a long time. I bound the handle with string as if it had split and been repaired, I stitched over the original stitching in several places as if it had burst & been repaired and I decided I had to do some real damage to it: I pried off one of the corner re-inforcements, so I made sure that the re-stitching there was actually functional as well as show-y. I also decided that the fastening would probably have broken, after all, it is a midwifery bag, things would probably have grabbed out of there in a hurry. But I didn't really want to actually break to fastener: it is supposed to be useful after all this! I tied a bit of string to the clasp and wound it round the bag and used it to close the bag. The string prevented the lock from closing which was great: just untie the string and the bag would be fine, leave the string on and it looks old & battered: win, win.

The outside and the shape were just what I wanted now. However the inside, despite having the lining ripped out looked very tidy. Also there was nothing to say it was Nanny's bag. It needed a label, so I put together a gummed label that seemed appropriate and stuck it inside. It still looked a bit pristine in there. So I mixed up some of my acrylic paints to get a really revolting brown, diluted it down with pva glue and smeared it over the inside with my hands for a really uneven coating. Lovely, like it had been used, and used, and used.

So next I had to consider what went in a midwifery bag that was full of "things you hope you never need". I could have gone down the gruesome route, but my partner had specified she wanted useful things. So, I decided that you never wanted to see a home that poor.

I included
  • an old towel
  • unpaper towels
  • dried frog (calming) pills for nervous husbands

  • needle & thread in an old tobacco tin

  • candle & matches
  • spirits and a glass for sterilising, the bottle was filled with a brown bubble-bath to simulate whisky, the label says Bearhuggers Whisky aged 8 minutes! and the drawing is the University tower (a landmark in the fictional city it comes from)

  • some pages from an old copy of Grey's Anatomy
  • oh, and in the back I put a few thank you letters and Greebo the cat had put a mouse in there
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / The cardigan with a whole family of sleeves. on: December 10, 2013 03:28:47 PM
This is what I've been doing most of the year: knitting.

My knitting takes a long time, average time for a jumper: 9 months. I think I'm getting a little better though, because I started this one in April and finished it in November, so that's 2 part months instead of 9 whole months. Since then I've worn it pretty much every week  Smiley. It is almost exactly what I wanted  Smiley.


I take time to understand the knitting patterns I use. I read them through before I start, I try to puzzle out the new terms and make sure I've got all the bits I need, but my bugbear is sleeves  Sad. It really is. For this cardigan I knitted no less than 5 sleeves for it  Cry.

The first sleeve I knitted to my best understanding of the pattern: when I held it to my shoulder it touched the ground  Sad. My arms really aren't that long  Tongue. It didn't surprise me however, I'd had a similar problem with every jumper sleeve that I'd ever tried to knit to a pattern. I re-read the pattern  Huh. Carefully  Huh. I passed the pattern to other knitters: they couldn't see where I'd gone wrong  Huh. I read the pattern again and sighed really hard.

I counted my rows, looked at the measurements required, wished for a bit more clarity and did some arithmetic  Undecided. I un-picked that sleeve and started again with my majorly adjusted pattern. I knit another sleeve, which actually came to the right length and looked OK. (2 sleeves in total)

I reversed the pattern and did it again. A pair of sleeves, somewhat imperfect  Undecided, but at least they'd fit. (3 sleeves in total).

Then I moved on to the back of the jumper, OK, I adjusted that a bit as well, but that was easy: I just added a little to the length to get the fit that I wanted. When I got to the top of the back it took a little figuring out because it seemed to be uneven, but I worked it out  Smiley.

Revelation: my pattern writer was inconsistent! Although in one part of the pattern for the sleeve I was asked to do something at the beginning and end of each row, elsewhere the phrase each end of the row meant the beginning and end of the row as well, not simply each far end of the row. I'd had twice as many rows in my first sleeve as was intended.

So, I cheated Cheesy, I knitted the next sleeve out of the wool I was intending to use for the front in order to compare it with the previous sleeves I'd knitted: it looked sooooo much better  Grin. (4 sleeves in total)

Then I un-picked the second and third sleeves  Roll Eyes and set about knitting the 5th sleeve for my cardigan. I put them side by side to admire them. That was when I discovered I'd made a mistake in the cuff of one of them! I looked at it in horror  Shocked: to take it back to the cuff would mean a whole new sleeve again  Cry. (5 sleeves in total)

The muslims believe there should be a flaw in everything created by man, because to attempt perfection is to challenge God. Angry I decided I wasn't going to challenge God this time Wink, my flawed sleeve would stay.<BIG sigh of relief>

The rest came fairly smoothly  Cool, although I am insanely grateful to whoever first thought up safety lines for complex patterns  Smiley- that cable pattern has a 24 row repetition, many of which are absurdly similar, but not quite the same.

If I had to do it all again, apart from doing the sleeves right first time out, I'd knit it one size smaller. But I think I've worked out a fix for that. I shall sew a press stud in the place of the first button and move the button along so that the second button will become the first and there will be a wee bit more overlap at the top.

But I love it. Grin Grin Grin
Second attempt at Photo
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Literary tin on: December 06, 2013 04:05:37 PM

My mum is bookish. No, actually she's very bookish. No, I think the adjective I'm looking for is extremely, yes that's right, extremely bookish.

So in addition to all the non-bookish things she will get for Christmas, like wooly coats and socks and shopping delivery vouchers (she's been known to without meals so that she can finish the next chapter  Roll Eyes and to forget to buy a winter coat because the coat shop is next door to the book shop and she spent all her money on books before thinking about coats Roll Eyes), she'll get a wee fix for her addiction.

The tin is covered in air-dry clay, which was then painted in acrylics, the inside is lined with (shock, horror Shocked)old library book pages. and there's a selection of bookmarks inside.

There is a title to the book tin now, but I photographed it before I sorted that out. I may have to take another couple of pictures, because I now realise I haven't shown the shape, or the pages very well.

Additional photos I promised.
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Christmas Cards 2013 on: December 05, 2013 01:54:46 AM
Each year I make my own Christmas cards, usually more than 50 of them, often to a very similar design: take last years cards, cut out the interesting bits, layer them on several backgrounds to make an interesting frame, stick on a plain card.

This year I was the lucky recipient of a box of goodies from Bekibutton-thank you soooo much. It contained all sorts of bits and pieces that she wanted to destash. It proved quite an inspiration and so I offer to you a new bunch of Christmas cards. In case it's a little hard to see, the tiny cards inside the envelopes are actually Christmas stamps that I've collected from the post I was sent this time last year. It appealed to my sense of humour to put the stamps inside the envelopes.
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Craft room incentives on: December 05, 2013 01:41:58 AM
I do all sorts of work in my craft room/workshop/spare bedroom. I can often be found paper-crafting or knitting or painting there, but I am rarely found sewing. That's even though there are plenty of projects just waiting for me to pick up a needle or launch the sewing machine. Undecided

In an attempt to liven up my sewing box, I made myself a needle book. It looked very pretty, even though I mostly made it by glueing instead of stitching. Soon I found myself delving into that sewing box a bit more often, so I stitched up a wee hedgehog pin-cushion, adding to the original pattern a base (made out of a bit of milk carton), so that would stop me from stabbing my fingers each time I picked it up - unlike my previous pin cushion!

Do you know, I started doing even more sewing Smiley Bucked up by this, I decided to try and tackle my reluctance to get out my sewing machine. I have a foam mat that my sewing machine must rest on when on the table, so I covered it, now it's much cheerier and I am far more likely to actually set up the machine.
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Knitted Lavender and Rosemary sachets. on: December 04, 2013 12:49:31 PM
You know how, when you're a beginning knitter, people seem to delight in giving you their odd balls of wool, half a skein here, a ball & a half left over from a jumper there and pretty soon you end up with a drawer full of ball ends that there is very little you can do with.

Well, I started knitting a few of the smallest of them into random rectangles, to see if I could get enough out of them to make a purse (UK Purse= something you can carry a couple of credit cards and some loose change in). Well, some of my ball ends weren't big enough even to do that with! But they came closeish. They languished in my cupboard for a few months until I pulled them out the other day whilst tidying up.

Well, I decided that they were nice enough wool that I could make some scented bags with them for Christmas. Here are the first couple I've made. The delight about these 2 is that they are quite masculine colours, so I can give them to blokes if I want to.
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