Tea Towel Pillows

Here’s what I made at Craft Day:

The two pillowcases at the front were made from tea towels that Paul had kept for years. The one hanging over the back of the couch I bought recently from the Transport for London online shop, and is a reproduction of a poster Paul has a small print of.

I have another two tea towels to sew into pillows: one from our trip to the UK in ’05, one that we found on eBay. The three above were backed with calico, but the other two are white so I’ve bought some cotton to back them with.

They are around the size of bed pillows and I only had two spare inserts in the cupboard. Once I have all five pillows on the couch it’s going to be pretty well stacked with them!


Here’s what I bought at the Craft Fair:

The fat quarters are for making small table cloths, the beads in tubes are the ideal size for adding to knitting or weaving, the other beads are handmade glass and though I have no plans for them yet they were too beautiful to leave, and the chain is for another jewellery project.

And, of course, there is the ‘Lifestyle Bag‘. (I went hunting for it on the BH&G site hoping there’s be a shot of the contents, since most of what was in mine has been given away, eaten or stowed in the fridge.)

Aside from the Craft Fair, I also received these:

Which are very cute, but not quite what I was expecting. The trouble with the internet is that you sometimes get no sense of scale. These shapes are confetti-sized, which is a bit small for what I had planned. But the punches were much cheaper than those in the shops, and I know I’ll put them to other uses.

Any suggestions?

Sketch Sunday 37

Yesterday I joined some friends for a crafty day. We headed to the Quick & Craft Fair, then spent the afternoon sewing, quilting or beading. After sewing up some pillows, I did this sketch of Emily working away at her sewing machine.

I don’t usually bother with this sort of craft fair, as I often end up spending more on the entry fee and parking than on crafty stuff. But going with friends is a lot of fun, and thanks to a cluster of bead and jewellery making shops in one corner, actually did manage to spend more on crafty stuff than the entry fee.

Paper Jewellery

Playing With Books contains a project for making beads out of strips of paper. This gave me ideas for other ways of making jewellery out of books, and those led to ideas for using security envelopes. I’ve been working on these for several weeks now, and I’ve finally finished them.


The first was a simple necklace of beads made from book pages. The book I used was the same one I cut up to make the apple and pear. I got a lot of use out of that book!

The words are in Czech, I think. I’m hoping that none of them, having been chopped into sections of words, are now rude words!

The idea for the next one came from all the excess circles I cut for the Dimensional Circle Ornaments. I punched holes in them and glued them together to make a thicker disc, painted the sides silver and then finished with a varnish of gel medium.

I liked this laminating idea, and decided to try it with the security envelopes I’ve been collecting. Not wanting a whole lot of large circles, I decided on squares. There were plenty of different patterns and colours of paper. I chose a selection of blue patterns, cut them into strips, glued them together, cut the strips in half, glued those back to back, cut them into squares, drilled holes and finished with varnish.

I had enough squares to try two different approaches. This one with beads:

Overall, making the paper beads, pendant and tiles took longer than I expected. The beads are particularly fiddly. There’s a lot of drying time involved in laminating. But time wasn’t a factor because I was having fun and making them for me. It would be a different story if I was making them to sell. But I reckon you could develop ways to speed up the process. Perhaps make bigger beads and cut them into shorter pieces. Or laminate together larger pieces of paper then cut them up.

One idea I still want to try is using paper punches that cut out shapes like hearts and leaves and laminate those together. I’ve got some punches on order. And I’d like to try making beads out of the security envelopes, as well as experiment with other kinds of paper. Perhaps magazine pages, or maps.

Plenty of room to explore here. Got any suggestions?

(And in a moment of curious serendipity, I just stumbled on this post about laminated paper jewellery made from books – with the original book as packaging!)


The second garment in my Bernardathon is done:

Pattern: Pink, from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: an alpaca blend from the back room at Bendigo Woollen Mills
Changes: the only one was that I lengthened the sleeves to the wrists.
Comments: it’s a really easy pattern. The gauge is loose for an 8ply yarn (uses 5mm needles) but since it’s an alpaca blend then this possibly prevents it being an uncomfortably warm garment. The v-neck isn’t as low as I was expecting, but I like it anyway.

I’ve started the next project:

It’s Slinky Ribs, which I’m calling ‘Slinky’. I’m planning to skip the button-up split at the front and knit the long sleeved version.

I’ve also started a pair of socks for my Dad:

They need to be done by his birthday at the end of the month, so they’ve been getting more attention than Slinky. After that I’m going to knit a pair for Paul. My Socks for Others Club may be finished, but I’m still happily knitting socks for other people

The Appeal

This reposted post by Danny Gregory gave me one of those ‘aha’ moments yesterday. Here’s an extract:

Drawing is about reaching for pure being. Not making pretty pictures to put in frames and on websites. The world doesn’t need more pictures. It needs peace and connection. It needs people who can accept reality and don’t feel compelled to control their environments. If you can look at a boot, at a rotting apple, at car’s worn tire, at an old man’s foot, and see it for what it is, without value or judgement, can see the beauty and particularity of the thing, you will find peace. You will avoid being covetous. You will be happy with what you have. You will accept others more readily, will see the sunshine on a cloudy day.

What I miss most from the times I worked as an illustrator and/or attended a weekly painting class, is how it made me see the world around me. My former painting teacher used to call it ‘getting your eye in’. The only down side was that once you were so attuned to visual beauty, you’d get frustrated that you can never have the time (let alone the skill) to capture it all in paintings.

And even if you did, where would you store all those paintings?

This, I suspect, is where the appeal is in sketchbooks. I can ‘get my eye in’ and keep it in, and develop my drawing skills, without filling up my house with artwork.

Posted in art

Sketch Sunday 36

This old mug is a favourite, but there’s a crack in the handle. So to extend its life a little longer I use it to hold pens, scissors, highlighters, nail file, glasses-cleaning cloth and torch. It sits next to my armchair in the tv room, where I was sitting when I did this sketch.

Yesterday I added one of the first trio of water brushes I bought. I find they’re a bit leaky and the lids fall off easily, so they’re not really suitable for stuffing into a handbag or kept within a paint set, but will be fine kept upright. I also reorganised a tin I used to carry sketching tools around in – particularly on interstate and overseas trips. I took out the pastel pencil and charcoal sticks and replaced them with waterproof pens and another empty strip of pain-killer medication packaging filled with watercolour paint. It’ll go next to the armchair, too, for when I want to do more than just doodle during the ad breaks.

I realised yesterday that I want to add little bit of art to my everyday routine.

Well, if not every day, then at least a few times a week.

Doodle Book #2

Since I filled up my Doodle Book, I’ve found that I miss it. Doodling is fun, and a great way to avoid boredom during ad breaks. So I’ve made another one:

Remember how I wanted to find a flexible facing material to make fabric-covered long stitch books out of? Well, I gathered some likely contenders:

It’s ironic that I’ve gone from having an excess of plastic shopping bags to far too many reusable shopping bags. But perhaps I can use them as facing. We also get a lot of bubblewrap lined parcel bags. Though the Australian ones are recyclable, the ones from the UK and US aren’t (but I tested an Aussie one because that’s all we had at the time). The roll is of rubber non-slip lining for rugs that I got from Reverse Art Truck. It’s kind of floppy, so I’m not 100% sure it’ll work.

I decided to test the bubblewrap facing first. PVA glue worked fine. I used the bookcloth as the lining, too, then added a press stud fastener. The resulting cover has a padded feel, but is also rigid enough to remain flat.

After cutting up some brown paper shopping bags for the internal pages, I decided to try something new:

I painted over some of the type printed on the bags with black and white paint. There were a lot more type-printed pages than before. While I enjoyed working with it last time, I also like the idea of working with the white and black painted pages.

There are a lot more pages than last time, so it’ll keep me going for a while.

And I’m also toying with the idea of doodling on the cover, too. Wherever inspiration takes me.

Knitters Journal

This one brought together a whole lot of materials I had around the workroom:

* postcard sent with a knitting swap for the cover
* leftover grey board from other bookbinding projects
* shiny white card for the rest of the covers from packaging
* the silk thread from an adopted yarn stash
* marbled paper I made a few months ago
* plain, graph and coloured paper

I painted the edges of the covers with gold paint. The marbled paper pages are on the outside of each signature, so they show at the spine. The binding is four-needle coptic stitch.

I made it without any particular purpose in mind, though I suppose the cover’s theme of knitting suggests a craft-related one. My scrawly and often crossed-out notes for knitting patterns seem too messy for this book, though. Maybe I should fill it with favourite knitting quotes and hints, and stick in labels for yarns I like.