Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Present gift tags

I have even had time to make my own present gift tags this year.
Hand marbled paper with these cute ceramic looking hearts.

The hearts are so easy to make, using bicarb of soda, cornflour and water.
Here's the recipe I used -
2 cups bicarb
1 cup cornflour
1 1/4 cups water.
Mix it all together in a pan and heat it gently, stirring all the time until it comes together like porridge.
Now you can leave it on baking parchment to cool slightly.
Then I divided it into half to roll out and pressed a paper pattern (just something random I had from a wedding) gently into the dough before using cookie cutters for the heart shape.
I used a kebab stick to make the hole and tidied it up with a cocktail stick.
Then you leave them to air dry for at least 2 days on a baking tray.
Apparently if you bake them they can lose the whiteness, and that's what I loved about them.
These were the second lot I made, the first ones were too big, too thin and too fragile, this size it much better and really cute! The lovely thing about using the pattern is that each one is slightly different, so they are totally unique! Don't press the paper too hard into the dough as it needs to be able to peel off without disturbing the dough.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Book Christmas trees

Here is a FABULOUS idea I found on Pinterest which I love.
It's really simple to do and looks so effective, I made 2 to stand either side of the mantlepiece.

Here's the link for how to fold the book.
This link uses a Reader's Digest but I didn't have one so I used an old book. Bit of trial and error as to how much to use, in the end I used 1/3 of the book, about 150 pages. The star on top is made with cocktail sticks snapped in half and held together with beads on wire. The ribbon and beautiful birds were from Hobbycraft, the stars and heart buttons I already had.

Christmas tree

I have altered our driftwood Christmas tree so it now hangs on the wall with rope through the centre of each piece of wood. It looks rather magical as the lights bounce off the wall behind it. Here's some pics including close ups of the felt birds I made.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas birds

I have decided to revamp the decorations for our Christmas tree and having been making new ones since the weekend.
We have a lovely unusual tree made out of driftwood, which spends most of the year on the landing (making no noise and pretending it doesn't exist!) and then in December gets its rightful place in the living room.
First off are little felt Christmas birds, in pairs.
So here they are, and will be hanging off the tree in a couple of weeks (we usually wait until after my son's birthday in December to put the tree up).
I'll post a picture of the tree when it is decorated.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


A mandala is a form of meditation, creating a beautiful picture from a mindful state. Last night my sangha (the group I practise meditation with) held a special evening contemplating death and continuation. This was very appropriate as our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh is currently seriously ill in hospital. We asked people to bring in photos of their ancestors and loved ones who had passed on and so it seemed fitting to create a beautiful setting around which the photos were placed.
Here is the mandala I created.
The leaves and flowers were all collected from my garden. The large leaves (Cotinus Grace) were still wet from the morning's frost. The white pebbles have all been collected over the years and some were polished many years ago by my Grandpa. I remember the odd noise coming from his cellar as his 'rumbler' tumbled and polished the stones.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Roulotte retreat

In the summer we went for a long weekend away to a beautiful place near Melrose in Scotland and stayed in a Roulotte, which is the name for a French gypsy caravan. There are now 6 together on one site, scattered around a meadow, each decorated individually. The one we stayed in was called Devanna and decorated in peacock colours of turquoise and purple. The owners have taken a huge amount of care in decorating and personalising each roulotte. I just love how well this collection of photos sits together showing many of the beautiful details inside and outside the roulotte.

You can find out about the roulottes from the Canopy and Stars website

A huggin of Christmas cards

What's the collective noun for Christmas cards?
An angelic host?
A choir?
I feel like there should be something as I started to assemble them yesterday and they are now spreading across my kitchen table.
Here they are

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I made a jacket!

Well, it's been a while, busy with other things and sadly haven't had a lot of time for creative things, but then I had a free weekend and made a jacket.
I'd seen the coating material by chance when I was buying some other material and it really caught my eye. Then I found a lovely jacket pattern online and it all fell into place.
Nice and cosy for the cold weather!
Here it is!
 The lining is a duvet cover from Ikea that I bought as skirt material. Just the job.

 And the buttons were a last minute find from Hobbycraft this morning. Nearly gave up when I saw the traffic queue to get into the shopping centre!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Two baby congratulation cards

I'm very fortunate to know two new babies that have recently been born, and had a lot of fun today making these cards for them.

I also discovered some new alphabet fonts that I have ordered and are on their way. Looking forward to have a play with them. I'll let you know when they turn up!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Bags of Japanese knot bags!

I've gone a little crazy in making more knot bags, 10 in all now! I think it's time to stop! But once you start I find I was thinking about how the next one could be slightly different, so I had to have another go. Then I found a pattern for a really cute smaller bag and I had to have a go!
The reason I have made so many is that in January I offered via facebook to do a kind of pay-it-forward. The people who replied to my post would receive something from me at an undetermined time in the future. I wasn't sure what it would be when I offered but the bag gave me inspiration so I started making some. I also wanted a bag big and strong enough to transport my meditation stool and mat, so that's what the big bag is for.
Here are the pics!
 Here are 9 of them all together.

 Here's one I made for a friend and took the opportunity to give it to her while she was over from Switzerland. This is made from the fabric of a beloved skirt of mine that sadly hit the fabric pile when the zip broke and I had to cut myself out of it!

 Daddy, mummy and baby bags. 

 The same basic pattern with and without an inset base.

 Patchwork bag open

 4 baby bags. These are cut from pieces 8 1/2" across and the base is 4" in diameter. 
All of the bags are reversible. 
I think it's time to give the sewing machine a rest and do something different for a while!

Monday, 28 July 2014

A happy accident

Isn't it great when the bit you are going to discard turns out to be the most interesting? I was doing some lino cutting yesterday of a bird and couldn't decide at first if I wanted just the bird or a box around it. Having left the box I did decide I preferred the bird on its own and cut of the extra bits, one of which was a triangle. And that's the bit that has become more interesting and playful.

 Here's the bird, a lovely little thing in itself, standing 4cm tall.

 And here's a card I made with the triangle off-cut that was going to be thrown away. Very happy with these!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Japanese knot bag

I made a Japanese knot bag today! I didn't know that was what it was called before I googled it. My friend has a knitted bag (which she keeps her knitting in) and it has one long handle and one short handle. To close it you thread the long handle through the short one. I wanted to make one for a while although I wasn't too sure how to go about it, but I had the time this afternoon so I googled it. And there it was! Exactly what I wanted. A pretty simple pattern and easy to work out.

The front panel with the buttons was from a dress and that was already constructed so it was pretty easy to put together. 

This is the back fabric which is some very cute retro thread bobbins. And you can just see the inside pocket peeping out in the spotty fabric.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Printed cards

With my recently purchased printing set of letters I have been having a lot of fun. Today I printed out quotations from some of my poems which will decorate cards. And here's what happened. Still struggling to get the letters evenly spaced as some of them are not central to their wooden handles, but I like the quirkiness of them, almost childlike. The full versions of the poems are on my other blog, Mindful Living

Monday, 14 July 2014

calligraphy poems

In Plum Village in June I wrote a lot of poems. The Family group that I was with had the job of looking after and replenishing the tea table. When everyone from the other 2 hamlets came to us for the Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh we had to make lots of extra teas to provide for them. My friend suggested I write out some of the poems and she would decorate them, so here are the results.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I've been away

I'm aware I've not had time to post on here for a while. I was away for 3 weeks of June on a retreat at Plum Village in France, which was absolutely amazing and wonderful! I wrote a lot of poetry then (see my other blog Mindful Living
but haven't done anything creative for a while as my Ph.D. and its completion is forefront at the moment. Tomorrow I'm off to Glos to co-lead a Mindfulness and Poetry retreat which will be great fun and then the next few weeks will be Ph.D. focussed but after that ... free time for some fun and creativity!!
So I'll share this with you for now, a little boat I made out of a magnolia petal and leaf, and the poem that accompanies it.
I made a sailboat for you
from a beautiful cupped petal
large enough to be the whole hull.
I formed the sail and mast
from a leaf and a stick,
the passengers were pebbles,
a coin and screwed-up silver foil.
My skills in sailboat making
are limited to say the least.
Attaching the mast to the hull
created a hole through which
water quickly floods.
I made a beautiful sailboat for you
to sail off in your imagination
far across the lotus pond
towards the sunset
to discover new, unchartered lands.
But this sailboat is for dry dock only.
© 4 June 2014

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

more lino printing

Over this bank holiday weekend the family (mainly my sister, daughter and niece) and I have had another play at lino printing. It started with a birdy birthday card idea and all took off from there. 

 here are several different leaves
 and a collection of the lino cuts we have been making this weekend.

I think this feather is my personal favourite so far, especially using 2 different colours for printing.

 my sister has done quite a bit of printing onto book pages. I find it difficult to take pages out of books (even ones bought from a charity shop for that purpose) so I photocopied the page for this print.

 it was a very opportune moment that my daughter was sorting out her room and wanted to throw away some sheet music paper, which gave me the idea for this print.

and finally my favourite quote, from my favourite person, Thich Nhat Hanh.

So now we're all ready for lots of lovely card-making. And having the letters to print as well makes me very happy. Great fun!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Why not fail joyfully?

Thought for the day - we talk about failing miserably, but why not fail joyfully? Why not rejoice in the mistakes that we make, that we learn from? Life would be dull indeed if occasionally we didn't have the opportunity to laugh uncontrollably at our own foolishness, short-comings, and falling flat on our faces! Let's celebrate those 'mistakes' that make us who we are :)

Printing set

Isn't it great when something interesting comes in the post rather than bills? This printing set has just arrived. And with the new soft lino type stuff to make printing blocks I'm all set for the next bank holiday weekend, one sister, one daughter, one niece and lots of fun! I will post the results :)