Archive for January, 2013

Our host for this month is Sara over at Cinders & Rain, so please do pop over to her blog to find out who else is playing along.


Last month my inspiration was actually motivation, and that motivation was fuelled by the need to earn money.  Not very artistic, but truthful.  This month my inspiration is equally truthful and just as unglamorous!  I have mainly been making things based on the ‘what needs using up?’ principle…


Something I made

Well, one of the plus sides of attacking anything in my path this month has been the sheer variety of books I’ve made.  I was a bit spoilt for choice…



A little close up of my Mollie Makes calendar page for January says it all…



What could be more delightfully retro than some Enid Blyton?


Motifs: Sequins

This category gave me The Fear when I first saw it.  I own precisely one item of clothing with sequins on, and it’s a summer top that hasn’t seen the light of day for a good few years.  What to do?  I was slightly worried I’d have to go out and start looking for a pearly king to photograph!  My luck was in though, I received a travelling craft box (long story) in the post last week and inside it was the perfect thing… not traditional sequins, but I jumped on them nonetheless!


What’s happening next month with the Crafty Photo Scavenger Hunt?  Rachel over at The Awesome Lady is our host for February, so please pop along to her blog tomorrow and see what topics she’s chosen.

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A little bit of structure from me, which makes a nice change, this post is a direct follow up to last week’s work in progress.  When last we left this project I had these books finished:


But wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them.  I had the vague idea of filling a box with them, but didn’t have enough of them to fill said box.

This is the box in question:


It’s a sturdy but plain box with a sliding lid, and it’s actually a bit of a sore point in this household.  Once upon a time we had a beautiful chess set: all the metal pieces were themed for Lord of the Rings, and it was a one-of-a-kind set that my father had owned for most of his life.  Now, I loved my dad, but he did have two major weaknesses – the pub, and the betting shop… you can see where this is going, right?  Yeah, at some unknown point my dad must have sold the set, probably for a fraction of its actual worth, because after he died we turned the house upside down and found only the box and no sign of the actual chess pieces.

It’s said that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but I’ll be honest and admit that there was a fair amount of cursing when I realised the chess set was gone.  I’m still very cross about it but there’s absolutely nothing I can do to get them back, so I decided to try and use the box for something else and try and create a new memory with it.

Anyway, that’s the history of the box and how it ended up in my studio, and after much thinking and a a hell of a lot of work, here’s the finished project.




A grand total of 22 books: half of which are casebound…



…and the other half are simple longstitch bindings



That’s a total of 22 different leathers used in this project, including gloving leather, skiver (thin layer of sheepskin), goat leather, calf skin, and goodness knows what else!  One of the aims of the project was to use up as many of the scraps in my studio as possible, so all the leather has been saved from previous projects (or are samples that I’ve hoarded for years – some of those have been lurking around my house for over a decade!) and I’m hugely pleased to have finally used them for something interesting.  The Gocco prints were, as I mentioned last week, leftovers, so the only new thing is the paper I used for the pages as I did need to have some uniformity in there.

I’ll be adding this set to my Etsy shop in the next week, but I fear the postage cost might make this one a bit unfeasible for overseas customers as the box and contents weigh in at a whopping 1.7kg!

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…Dr Who’s there!  The Doctor returns to my Etsy shop courtesy of some beautiful fabrics from Spoonflower.  I’ve made some coptic bound books in two sizes, and some A6 sized casebound books for those of a more traditional bent.  These books will be available in my Etsy shop from Thursday evening, so keep your eyes peeled and please help spread the word!



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Running late…

ss 27-01-2013

Apologies for my lousy effort this week… thankfully Jenna has some beautiful hares in her sketchbook, and Hayley has a couple of EDM challenges completed in hers.  I’m off to the seaside for a few days this week, so I will hopefully have a more interesting sketchbook by next Sunday!

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I’m the first to whinge when I receive poor customer service (although, to be fair, I have experienced some truly shocking service from certain companies in the past).  So I thought I would take this opportunity to shout loud and proud about some very good customer service I’ve just received.

Way back in April 2012 I ordered some fabric from Spoonflower.  Not much, just a couple of yards which were destined to become a quilt.  I used the leftovers to make some notebooks, and they were so popular that at the start of December I thought I’d place another order with Spoonflower.

My first order took just two weeks to arrive, which I thought was pretty darn good, so I eagerly anticipated having my new fabrics by the start of 2013.  Christmas and New Year came and went and there was no sign of them, but I assumed it was just the usual festive delay.  Alas by the end of last week there was still no sign, so on Sunday I contacted Spoonflower to ask what might happen next.

On Monday I received a reply from a very nice lady who apologised for my order having gone missing en route, and assured me that a replacement order would be despatched on Wednesday.  I was pleased with this, although a bit disappointed as I just assumed that it would still take a week or so to reach me.

Boy was I wrong.  My doorbell rang at just gone 9am on Thursday, and it was a FedEx man with my replacement order.  My jaw certainly hit the ground!  The shipping date on it was 22nd, so they had definitely rushed the replacement out in super quick time, and I’m over the moon about it.

This is good customer service: they were swift to respond when I contacted them, they were apologetic (even though it’s no fault of theirs that the first parcel had been lost in the post), and they dealt with the matter super efficiently.  Top marks to Spoonflower for having an excellent range of fabric designs with which to attract customers, and the good service to retain said customers in the long term.

So, what did I actually buy?  Well…


I’ve had two of these fabrics before (the ones in the middle), but these two are a first for me:



I love these and have already made a start on making some books with them… watch this space for further updates!

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Here we are almost at the end of January, and I’m only just getting around to a work in progress post… my last one was at the start of December, I really am a bit rubbish at remembering to do this!

Still, just because I’ve not been blogging regularly it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.  On the contrary, I’ve been working my little socks off in my studio over the past few weeks.  Since the start of the year my big focus in the studio, apart from some commissions, has been to use things up.  I’ve mentioned this before, but my studio is crammed with odds and sods because I just can’t bear to throw anything away.  I hoard things which might be useful, and when you add those to the things which are actually useful, and the various other tat that I have down there… well, it’s all got a bit crowded.

So, for the start of this year my mission has been to use things up, which has meant literally grabbing things out of my desk (or off a pile on the floor, for shame…) and then turning them into books.  I’ve already blogged about some of them, such as the letter notebooks, the return of the prescription notebooks, another batch of Enid Blyton books, and finally making and using some paste papers.  It’s been a good challenge, and not as dispiriting as I’d imagined it would be.

This week I’ve been using up scraps of leather and some spare Gocco prints.  Some of you might remember that back in the summer I rediscovered a drawing that my father had done for me when I was little, and that I edited the drawing and turned it into a Gocco print.  I did a limited run of those prints, but when I’d finished there was still a lot of ink on the screen so I ran off a whole load of prints on cheap recycled paper in the hopes that I’d one day find a use for them.


Well this week I have…



Some marvellous miniatures, perfectly bound with leather spines.




I’ve made ten so far, and I’m now not sure what to do with them.  I have a box in the studio which they’d fit into, but the problem is that the box will hold twenty books of that size, and I don’t have enough of the prints to make another ten books… so I will have to put my thinking cap on and work out what to do with them!

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You’re welcome!

In 2012 I took part in the Big Knit for the first time.  It was a very rewarding experience as I learned how to knit tiny hats, and also made a huge inroad into my stash of leftover yarn scraps.  I managed to knit a grand total of 60 hats, and got a tour of Fruit Towers when I went to drop them off.


Most of them were striped, but I’m hoping to branch out a bit more this year and be more adventurous!  Anyway, I dropped them off at the end of September and haven’t really thought about them since (although I did get excited when the hats started to appear on smoothie bottles at the supermarket in December).

Yesterday I got a lovely surprise in the post…

innocent thankyou

It’s got a standard printed thank you message in there, but as a nice personal touch there is a handwritten note about my hats in particular – which made me smile.  A big thumbs up to Innocent for taking the time to thank those who took part in the campaign, and I’m looking forward to making more hats this year!

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Or you could have, if you treat yourself to one of my new notebooks.  Some time ago a friend sent me some vintage envelopes, dated from the 1940s, which I put safely away in my desk and then forgot.


I rediscovered them last week and thought it was about time I did something with them.  I thought they were beautiful as they were, so I turned them into simple coptic-bound notebooks so as to preserve as much of the original envelopes as possible.


If you’d like to purchase one of these lovely little books then click here to visit my Etsy shop.

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January is vanishing at a rate of knots, so it’s about time I got my act together and chose my favourites from December!


I have two favourites in this category, Margot’s cup of tea, and Nicole’s stunning sunset.

inspiration - gok

inspiration - tulsi

Something I made

My favourite has to be Nicole’s steaming dish of tagine… it might be vegetarian (I’m very firmly a carnivore!), but it does look good!  An honorary mention goes to Sally for her use of sparklers 🙂

made - gok

made - diario


I haven’t the foggiest what a dunny is, but I do like the look of this one as photographed by Sara over at Cinders & Rain.

gifts - cinders


I have a fondness for records, which made choosing a favourite in this category very easy!  This is Margot’s shot of a record containing four Christmas stories which she listens to every year.

tradition - tulsi


Motif: Stars

Simple, but effective, I really liked this shot of stars by Rachel over at The Awesome Lady.

stars - awesomelady


Thanks so much for taking part this month, it’s been lovely as always to see what you’ve chosen to post, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to pick my favourites.  My honorary favourite this month is Ruby the cat, photographed by Ruth – such a beautiful cat!

inspiration - goldhawk

Sara over at Cinders & Rain is our host for the CPSH in January so click here to see what topics she’s chosen, so if you haven’t already signed up then please pop over there and let her know that you’ll be playing!

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A bit of a mixture this week: a quick sketch done at The Paradise while waiting for a screening of Labyrinth to start, and a couple more EDM challenges…

ss 20-01-2013_1

ss 20-01-2013_2


ss 20-01-2013_3

Pop over to Timballoo and see what Jenna’s got in her sketchbook this week, and Hayley over at Pogle Paints has finished uploading her sketchbook project which is definitely worth a look!

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