Archive for June, 2014

Sorry, I really couldn’t resist that pun!  A couple of weeks ago someone drew my attention to a yarn bombing project that’s been set up by The Craft Club.  For full details (including how you can take part) you can click here, but the short version is that they are planning to yarn bomb the grounds of Little Havens children’s hospice to create a magical woodland (and hope to break the world record for the largest display of crocheted items while they’re at it).

The idea of creating a magical crocheted woodland really appealed to me so I got in touch with The Craft Club and asked what I could make for them…

We want to create a magical garden scene for the children to discover, and so our theme is Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree stories. Any crocheted items that fit in our theme would be welcome… woodland creatures such as hedgehogs, squirrels, rabbits and owls, fantastical characters such as goblins, fairies and trolls, flora such as flowers, cherries, acorns, strawberries and mushrooms.

A pretty broad brief, which is good as I haven’t read The Magic Faraway Tree stories.  I had a look online and found some patterns I liked the look of (and The Craft Club attached some patterns to their e-mail too) and got cracking!  The deadline is in late August but the summer is looking as though it’s going to be busy for me so I thought I had better get some things made quickly so I could post them in plenty of time.

I started off with the toadstool pattern provided by The Crochet Club and made a couple of purple and cream spotted toadstools, then decided to adapt the pattern slightly to make some different mushrooms with floppy caps.


I then decided I wanted to make a toadstool house so I had a look online and found this pattern.  The toadstool house took a bit longer than I had anticipated and although I was pleased with the result I was very glad to finally finish it!  A frog (from this pattern) followed, and then I made some mini mushrooms with scraps of red yarn that I finally found lurking in a bag.


What next?  Well I really wanted to have a mammal of some sort…and for reasons unknown I decided that it ought to be a mole.  I couldn’t find any patterns online that I particularly liked so I made the very rash decision to write my own.

Yes.  Well.


First photo of the mole, and a friend thought he was an aubergine.  Right, so he needs some paws then!


The paws were a success, and I finished my mole and he took his place in the line up of crocheted goodies.


There was still something missing though.  Yup, Mr Aubergine (a.k.a. Moley) needed a snack.  Some very helpful friends translated this pattern for me – but I have to be honest and say I gave up following it (sick of counting stitches by this point!) and just winged it.  I think my worm turned out ok, and he completed the set.


On Saturday I posted the parcel to The Crafty Club (and included some random crocheted peas and carrots that I found lurking in a bag – don’t ask…), and hopefully they will arrive safely some time this week.

I will try and get round to writing the mole pattern up properly at some point.  It was more faffing than I’d anticipated, so I would be happy for other people to get some use out of it!

Read Full Post »

painted butterflies_01

I made something new last month, and had totally intended to come and tell all about it rather sooner than this but life got a little busy (nothing new there then!).

I often wonder what I can do with the many book pages that find their way into my studio, and finally decided to combine them with my love of nature.  Painted butterflies, painted to scale, started to emerge.

painted butterflies_02

painted butterflies_03

painted butterflies_04

painted butterflies_05

They looked great but I was then faced with the question of what to do with them next.  I thought about shadow boxes, and a friend suggested the same, so I looked into buying shadow frames… and was promptly horrified by the price of them.  I put the butterflies away for a few days and had a think.

Then inspiration struck: I’d make my own.  After all, how hard could it be?

butterfly box_01

I started with a RIBBA frame from IKEA as these are deep frames and I thought it would work perfectly if only I could alter it a bit.  I removed the metal clips that hold the back in place…

butterfly box_02

…this is so that I could move the back further back (does that make sense?) in order to make room for a shadow box within.  Making a box out of mountboard didn’t take too long, and I also cut a fresh mount/frame/aperture thing to better fit the butterfly (original on the left, new one on the right).

butterfly box_03

butterfly box_04

butterfly box_05

butterfly box_06

Then it was just a matter of sticking the butterfly into the box, and putting the whole lot back in the frame.

butterfly box_07

butterfly box_08

I’m so pleased with the way this turned out: the frame shows off the delicate butterfly perfectly.  I’m also really glad that I was able to make my own shadow frame as I would otherwise find it very difficult to make any kind of profit on this.  I will be adding this butterfly to my Etsy shop very soon, but in the meantime if you’re interested in this one (or in commissioning another one) then please contact me.



Read Full Post »

Wednesday WIP

I’ve actually been doing a lot of crochet at the moment, but will tell you about that very soon. For now here’s something else I’ve been working on…


Read Full Post »

Today’s post was kindly written by Katy of Misericordia, I hope you enjoy her take on street art as much as I did.  I think my favourite has to be the thistle.  Thank you Katy for the little tour of Edinburgh, and I hope to get another guest post out of you in the future!


When Emma asked me to write about street art I have to admit that I had a bit of a panic. I’m not entirely sure how street art is defined, but I’m pretty sure that what I like and look out for isn’t quite within the usual boundaries.


So here is a guide to the sights of my Edinburgh, no Banksy-esque graffiti, just the things that I look out for as I go along.




One of the things I particularly like about Edinburgh is that evidence of previous tenants isn’t entirely obliterated as things change.


artificial limbs


It took me ages to finally work out what this sign used to say – artificial limbs (it’s just across from the Old Royal Infirmary).


I’m not too sure why this sign at Charlotte Square had to go, but there is a lovely iridescence that remains.


charlotte square


I’m not too sure what happened here (signwriter feud?), but it’s a beautiful cacophony of gilt lettering.


text layers


Another benefit of living in a city with well-preserved urban architecture is the trail of pleasant ironmongery that dots the way.




This is just one example of an ecclesiastical variety, but our way to the park (about a dozen doors) has at least eight different styles of shoe scrapers extant.


Sometimes there are small ironies (sorry) lurking in the metalwork. I always meant to take this photo when the Scottish smoking ban came in and let the profits from stock photography roll in, but it never quite happened.




Of course the thing I love most of all is text, whether decorative


nouveau letters


or enthrallingly mundane.




I could (and may well yet) write an entire blog post on my passionate affection for early 20th century institutional sign fonts. (There’s a waste paper bin at my local post office that I covet with an avidity that scares me.)


Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour of Edinburgh’s streets.

Read Full Post »

Tried out a new pen this week…won’t be using it again!

ss 22-06-2014_01

ss 22-06-2014_02

Soaks into the paper far too fast so there’s no way to vary the depth or thickness of stroke, and bleeds right through the page too.  Not good.

Read Full Post »

Street Art #18

About a month ago I visited Brighton for a couple of days, during which time I saw an awful lot of street art.  Some was official, some was unofficial, but all of these caught my eye.

Kensington Street:

street art_18_07

street art_18_02

street art_18_01

Bond Street Laine:

street art_18_03

street art_18_04

street art_18_08

No idea where I saw these!

street art_18_05

street art_18_06

Read Full Post »

Another urban fox in Peploe Road, NW6.

street art_17

Read Full Post »

…bet you’re wondering what on earth I’ve made now.  Well, not all the coffee sacks were perfect: as you’d expect from used sacks some of them had marks on them, and of course some just had very dull things printed on (if you want to see some of the prettier sacks then click here).  Not ideal for home furnishings but it would be a shame to waste them.

So I decided to try my hand at making some planters for the garden.  I had a vague idea of how to do this, but didn’t work to a set pattern or measurements.  The planters aren’t made solely from coffee sacks as I didn’t think that would be sturdy enough, so I used some old canvas that we had lurking in a cupboard.

coffee sack planters_01

coffee sack planters_03

coffee sack planters_04

coffee sack planters_05

coffee sack planters_06

coffee sack planters_07

coffee sack planters_02

coffee sack planters_08

A perfect fit, despite being too lazy to measure!  I’m going to plant these up with salad for the summer, and then come the winter they’ll be easy to fold up and store away.  I have a couple more of those hanging plant support things so I might make a couple more planters to fit them, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Read Full Post »

Spotted by the lovely Kat of Adventures in a Campervan.  This piece can be found on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, between Cherry Tree and Mill Hill.

street art_16

Read Full Post »

Shop shutter on Golborne Road, W10.

street art_15

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »