Archive for December, 2011

Back in July I had a bash at making a Kindle cover.  Since then I have actually got a real Kindle to put in it (rather than a cardboard mock up!), and the cover has served me very well.  My fella received one of the new, smaller, Kindles as a gift this Christmas so of course I had to make him one too.

I did learn a valuable lesson from the first one: a cover that’s made of paper and card needs protection on the corners if it’s to be more durable, so this one has leather corners which I hope will do the trick.

The rest of the design remains the same (although the measurements have been shrunk).  The loops of elastic to hold the Kindle in place are the same, but look better on this one as they don’t overlap any buttons (what with the new dinky Kindle not really having any).  I have to say, though, that the elastic overlapping the buttons on mine doesn’t affect the functionality at all, but aesthetically this is much more pleasing.


All in all I think it’s a success, and my fella certainly seems happy with it.  I might be tempted to make some more and add them to my Etsy shop next year…

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If you’re new to the Scavenger Hunt then please visit Kirst’s blog to see how this all began.  I’m acting as guest host again this month, and I hope you find everything to your liking!

I’ll start off with a list of those people who are taking part – please do visit their blogs and have a look at their entries for this month.  If they haven’t posted their photographs yet then please be patient and check again on the 31st!


I’ve definitely taken inspiration from some of the things I’ve seen in craft magazines this month, though not really in the way they originally intended…

Something I Made

We saw chains of origami stars at a craft fair recently and I ended up making my own.  We received a Christmas card in a very pretty (and huge) envelope, so I recycled the envelope and turned it into stars.  Add some sparkly red embroidery thread and voila, one simple garland.

Motifs: Geometric

An abstract shot of the Times Eureka Chelsea Garden at Kew Gardens.  It’s a beautiful garden and you can read more about it here.


A friend had these embroidery threads out when I went to visit and I thought they were so vibrant and cheerful.


I’m not one for Christmas trees really, but my fella wanted one so I found something I could live with.  I think this wooden tree with built in LED lights is perfect: simple but still festive.

In a few days, once I’ve had a chance to view all the entries for this month, I’ll put up my favourites – please do pop back to have a look!  In the meantime Rachel over at The Awesome Lady will be guest-hosting for January, so please pop along to her blog to see what topics she’s chosen 🙂

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This week’s Weekword is box, and it was chosen by Katy over at Creating Misericordia.  If you go and visit her blog you’ll be able to see what she’s written, as well as a list of the other participants.

Boxes, and tins, are one of my major weaknesses.  I’m a complete sucker for a pretty box, which leads to arguments in my own head when I see one…. “It’s gorgeous, I want it… I don’t need it… but it’s so pretty!… what on earth will I do with all the stuff in it?… use it, or give it away… then I’m paying a ridiculous amount for just a box… but it’s so pretty!…”

You get the picture.

Sometimes I manage to justify the purchase of a new box (and, to be fair, I do use them all … even if I have to invent uses for them…), and sometimes I don’t.  I’m justifying them more and more these days, even though I’m running out of room to put them, because there’s nothing worse than thinking “I’ll get it next time” only to find that it’s gone when you go back to the shop.  Anyway, enough waffling, I’ll get on with it and show you some of my favourite boxes.

This lovely tin was the deciding factor in my purchase of notecards from Architette.  I’d been ogling her work for quite some time, especially this particular set with the red tin/box (and it has to be said that as beautiful as the cards are, the tin was a major attraction for me).  In the end it was the fact that she was down to her last red box that made me snap and buy it.

I have a rather large collection of hatboxes from Lush which I’ve acquired over the years.  Thankfully I managed to pick most of them up in the sales (they used to do the most amazing post-Christmas sale where if you spent £15 you could choose any gift that had been made prior to December that year for free), thus saving myself an absolute fortune (I spent £45 one year, on staples like shampoo and shower gel, and got three fabulous hatboxes stuffed full of bath bombs and other luxuries as my free gifts).

Yup, that’s a lot of hatboxes (and it doesn’t include all of them either…)!  They’re great for storage though and are variously home to socks, yarn, scraps of leather, gloves/hats, and pretty much anything else that’ll fit inside them.

Next up is this lovely wooden box.  Technically it’s a toy chest (and quite a large one at that), but let’s not be too picky eh?  I picked this up for just £5 from the bric-a-brac stall at a school fete.  Bargain!

I do like unusual boxes, and here are some of my favourites.

Two beautiful wooden safes made by Marian of Ustabee.  I love the vintage post office doors, and these boxes add a classic yet quirky feel to my mantlepiece.

I think my dad got this when he worked for a shop that sold bookbinding supplies.  It’s gorgeous, and I store posh stamps (presentation packs) in it.

This one came from a car boot sale many years ago, my mum came home with it and I confiscated it from her and haven’t given it back since!

That’s a taster of my box collection, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

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Pretty new papers

Not the most imaginative title, but it does exactly what it says on the tin!  I ordered a load of new papers just before Christmas, and as they were the last delivery I received the box was shoved unceremoniously into my studio and abandoned.  Shame on me.

Still, I had time to open the box and go through them today, and here’s a sneak peek at what will be turned into books this coming year.

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Tying up loose ends

As the end of the year is rapidly approaching I thought I’d better see if I’ve got any projects on the go which I could try and finish before 2012 starts.  Mercifully I only seem to have the one at the moment: the colourful adventure blanket (yeah, I stil need to think of a proper name for it).

That’s what it looks like at the moment, and I’m rapidly running out of yarn so with a bit of luck it’ll be finished by 31st December.  I’ll post photos when it’s done 🙂

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I’ve been wanting to blog about this for ages, but my hands have been tied as I had to wait until after the recipients had opened their Christmas presents.

I don’t watch Dr. Who, so this was one of those commissions where someone handed me a photograph (well, a screenshot) and said “make that” … so I did.

The larger one is a present for my brother-in-sin, and the smaller version is for his son (who is also crazy about Dr. Who).

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Merry Christmas to one and all!  I’ve been spoiled rotten this year and have had oodles of lovely stuff, but I thought I would pop on briefly just to show off some things which will be making their way into my studio very shortly.

Firstly an origami calendar from my parents-in-sin.  Last year they got me a kirigami calendar which I loved to bits, so they’ve continued the theme this year.

I also got this fabulous Pantone tin – I’ve been eyeing these up for ages, and I’m so chuffed to finally have one as it’ll be perfect for stashing things in my studio 🙂

Last of the craft-related gifts is this beautiful drawing gift set by Moleskine.  Moleskine notebooks are one of my guilty pleasures (because a) I make notebooks of my own, and b) they’re rather expensive) but I do love them.  This gift set is simply beautiful, and having such a lovely new sketchbook will hopefully help me keep my resolution to draw more.

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Something in January’s issue of Mollie Makes caught my eye…


I loved this idea: it’s so simple, but has a lot of charm about it.  So I had a think and then decided to make my own today.  I hunted out an old biscuit tin, and then cut index cards and other card to fit.

For the dividers I used bits of old postcards and notecards I’ve received from people in the past.  Prior to this they’d been tacked onto a wall in my studio, but this seemed like a better use for them.

I also added little ribbon bits to help make it easier to flick from section to section.

I haven’t stamped dates onto any of the cards yet, but I’ve got a brand new SMASH stamp (from Craft Obsessions) which will do the job perfectly.

I’ve been a bit rubbish at keeping a diary as an adult – there always seems to be so much space to fill, and inevitably you miss days, or make a right mess of a page and want to rip it out.  This seems a good alternative because individual cards can be replaced, or added, and because it’s almost a perpetual diary I’ll be trying to keep things short and sweet to save on room.  I’m looking forward to 1st January so I can start using it!

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Yesterday I visited Kew Gardens for the first time in 13 months.  The last time I visited I was with my father, and it was his last trip to see the gardens so going back was quite an emotional occasion.  I’m glad that I went, and it seems fitting that it was on the occasion of the winter solstice.  Midwinter always feels like the start of something new: the days start to lengthen, the sun begins to warm the earth more, and we’re heading back towards spring.  I let my Kew membership lapse after my father died, but I renewed it yesterday and hope to start visiting the gardens on a regular basis again.

Here are some photographs from yesterday, showing some of the gorgeous clear weather and beautiful winter colour.

The red stems of cornus, seen from the Sackler Crossing

The Sackler Crossing

More vibrant cornus

View across the Thames

The unassuming but sweetly scented blooms of Osmanthus heterophyllus

Bright red rowan berries

White rowan berries

Callicarpa berries almost look false, they’re such a bright purple

A bee enjoying a camellia blossom in the sunshine

The Times Eureka Garden

The sun starting to go down on the shortest day

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Weekword: Mail

A list of all this week’s participants is given at the end of this post

I decided to be selfish and choose a word that I knew I could write about this week.  No shame in that! 😉  I think everyone loves to receive things in the mail (barring bills and parking tickets…), and I’m certainly no exception.  Regular readers will know that I’m fascinated by mail (or post, which is what we normally call it here in the UK) of all sorts.  Mail-based art projects are a particular love of mine.

PostSecret is probably the most well known mail project around these days.  If you’re not familiar with it then the basic premise is that people mail in their secrets, anonymously, on a homemade postcard.  It’s part art project, and part something else I can’t define.  The secrets range from the humorous to the poignant to the downright shocking.  It’s all human life, on one little postcard at a time.

These are the three books I’ve got on mail art at the moment (no doubt my collection will grow!).  Envelopes is a great read, and I thought Harriet had some great ideas.  I’m still only halfway through The Englishman Who Posted Himself, although I’ve found that inspirational too, and Mail Me Art is still on my ‘to read’ pile.

My last mail-based project is still ongoing, although it’s been shelved for a while.  Inspiration by Post was conceived last March, and if you’d like to read more about it then click here.  I’ve got quite a few submissions still to deal with, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to pick this project up again in the new year.

Thanks for reading, and please visit the other Weekword participants to see what they’ve posted this week 🙂


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