Archive for April, 2011

As regular readers will know, I hate seeing things go to waste.  So I have real difficulty in throwing away offcuts, or samples, or anything that is of a size that I might one day be able to use.

The amount of seemingly useless stuff I stash away is ridiculous, but every few months I sit down and dedicate some time to using it up.

Today was one of those days.  I really enjoyed it: it’s quite challenging trying to make things out of practically nothing.  I try to be good and not use any new materials at all, so I’m often left staring at a piece of paper and wondering what on earth in the pile of scraps might complement it.  It’s labour-intensive too.  The books are miniscule, but take as much time to make as a similar book of four or five times the size.

Aren’t they sweet?  The lip balm is, obviously, included to demonstrate just how small they are.  I’m fast running out of time before I leave for my holiday, but I’m hoping I might get a chance to make one or two more…

These will be added to my Etsy shop in May.

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…made me remember that I purchased some vintage book plates featuring birds some time ago, and that I hadn’t done anything with them.

So I had a hunt through my stash of supplies and here are the results:


All A5 in size, and containing 64 pages (128 sides) of 120gsm fine white paper.  They will be added to my Etsy shop in May.  Why such a long wait?  I’m off on holiday for three weeks and the shop will be closed until I get back!

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It’s been a beautiful day in the garden, although I have to admit that all this sunshine is not encouraging me to be very productive!  I did finish the sari yarn notebook though:

I love it.  I love the colours, and I love the way that the texture looks rough but actually feels soft.

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Hexposé is a repository for the random thoughts that run through my brain. It could probably best be described as a social commentary.  All opinions are my own, and I take no responsibility for any effect they may have on you.  If you don’t like what you read there’s a simple solution – stop reading and go elsewhere.

I started writing Hexposé in 2004, and continued until 2005.  Why such a short period?  Well, in truth, I had a very, very dull desk job and had permission to basically entertain myself between taking telephone calls and letting patients in.  So I wrote my little social commentary pieces.  Then the business closed and I went to work elsewhere – so I stopped writing!

I thought I would resurrect the original pieces, all of which can be found in the new Hexposé category – click here to visit it.

Why is it called Hexposé?  A bit of an amalgamation between ‘hex’ and ‘exposé’ – I thought it was pretty appropriate for a witch 😉

I’m going to try and start writing again this year, so the Hexposé section will be added to sporadically, new additions will be written as and when I have the chance/inspiration. If there’s a subject that you want to see given the Hexposé treatment then e-mail me at: info@the-gift-shed and put ‘Hexposé’ in the subject line.

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So, a few days ago I posted that my new yarn had arrived.  I decided to knit it into a book cover.  Yes, knit.  I’m not a very good, or very fast, knitter – but I tried a few rows of crochet and the fabric was coming out too thick, so knitting it had to be (simple stocking stitch, edged with a row of single crochet when it was finished).

The yarn is stunning, but it was a bloody nightmare to knit with.  It kept tangling and having to be sorted out every couple of rows.  It was also quite uneven, so by the time I had finished the rectangle I’d been aiming for was hideously curled and distorted.  Bah.

Blocking turned out to be the answer.  I’ve never blocked a piece of knitting (or crochet) before, but there was no alternative so I gave it a go.  I soaked the piece of knitting with warm water (a lot of the instructions I found online said to pin it out and then just spritz it, but really that wouldn’t have worked with this deformed monstrosity), and then pinned it out on a cushion and put it down in the garden first thing this morning.  It’s been a lovely mild day here in London and it dried out very quickly, so here it is.

Right side:

Wrong side:

I’m going to crochet a tie for it, and then it’s ready to be made into a notebook!

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You’re probably thinking “kiriwhat?!” and I wouldn’t blame you, I hadn’t heard of this either until I opened one of my Yule presents in December.  My parents-in-sin (they’d be my in-laws if I ever got married) got me a kirigami calendar:

It’s one-a-day, but what with one thing and another I didn’t get a chance to open it and start playing with it until today.  Lots to catch up on then!

It’s quite relaxing.  There are several different types of folding to learn, and considering the range of scissors and knives I have in my studio the cutting out of things wasn’t any trouble.  I did quite a few, but then started wishing for another colour – the block is divided into different colours, but unfortunately each block is quite sizeable so it’s going to be a little while until I get to make shapes in something other than blue!

I was then faced with the dilemma: what to do with all the shapes?  I decided to use them to decorate my studio wall.  They’re stuck on with PVA glue and I’ll keep layering them up as I run out of room, which should make for an interesting effect as the year wears on:

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It’s a bit too late in the day for the whole first of the month shenanigans, but never mind!

Just a brief update today.  A few weeks ago I ordered a skein of recycled silk yarn, and it’s finally arrived.

Recycled silk yarn is the by-product of colorful saris that women wear in South Asia. It is the loose ends of saris collected from industrial mills in India that is hand spun into yarn in Nepal. The vibrant colors and unique texture of these silk fibers and silk yarn are inspirational to designers, knitters, and artisans. The popularity of recycled silk yarn has extended beyond Nepal and India and has created an empowering cottage industry primarily benefiting women.

It’s gorgeous.  It was an absolute bugger to wind into a ball, but it’s done now and ready to be used in a project.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

I have mainly been gardening this week, trying to get on top of my work before I disappear on holiday for three weeks.  However I have had time to do a couple of illustrations.  Another teacup, and a painting for a friend:

The teacup will be added to my Etsy shop over the weekend, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to work on some other projects too.

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