Creative tidy up

An artist friend of mine, Kate, is finally getting her own studio space and knowing how creative she is I know it’s going to be lovely and I started to feel quite envious. Which is really rather silly of me as I have a lovely room with plenty of space, light and central heating so I really shouldn’t complain. But, you know how it is, this room also doubles as general creative room for everyone, teenage den and occasional guest bedroom.

I’d started to dump, had creations with no home and it was looking messy and not feeling like a creative space.

I began by clearing out a stack of six drawers which have housed all Charlotte’s pens and paper for more than the last decade. The drawers will be repurposed by Kate and I gained a little more space. Mind you, you should have seen the mess on the floor whilst I tried to incorporate the said pens and paper into the cupboard!

On my sideboard was a mess of quickly discarded items with no home or homes that I couldn’t be bothered to find at the time and an old music system which I didn’t use and which was taking up a lot of space.

I like old pallets, we’ve used them for all kinds of things and as we had 3 in the garden I thought it time I had a go at recycling one myself. Previously all the work has been done by Hubby but this time I was determined to do it myself. Well, no matter how hard I struggled I couldn’t get it apart and had to resort to chopping it up. In my mind I had an idea to make a set of display shelves for my pots, no more than that, just a set of shelves so it didn’t matter that I couldn’t get long lengths I thought. In the end I did have to ask Hubby to help with a few bits of the dismantling.

He’s got my physical clout than me and did help me to save one long length which would be the base of my shelves. We even managed to leave the blocks on so that the bottom shelp coped with the irregular height on the sideboard.

At this point I got all excited and started clearing the top of the sideboard.

It didn’t go very far as you can see and then I had to clear it off there onto the windowsill so I could use the table to work on.

I’d taken a photo of what I wanted to do so it was a case of working out each piece as I went along. Pallets are made of cheap rough wood and I wanted to use that, especially the knotted, gnarled and bits with holes or nails in. Where two pieces of wood had crossed each other I’d chopped them apart and liked using the bits which had 2 layers of wood left. Working with wood, drills and screwdrivers is right out of my comfort zone and I won’t be rushing back there anytime soon!

You can see what I mean with two of the shelves and two of the uprights. Hubby would have removed these but I wanted them left and they became shelf supports on the uprights. I left them on the shelves too as I thought they’d give me different heights when displaying pots.

All my little homeless pots are now housed on the shelves. Hubby was a great adviser when required and a constant support, both he and C like the finished article and it worked out better than I’d hoped. You can see how the long piece with the bottom blocks left on copes with the uneven height of the sideboard top. The three solid blocks were other feet I removed and Hubby suggested we use them as you see. I haven’t fixed them in so they can be removed for taller items or used elsewhere to give different heights.

There’s still more to do in the room not least of which will be a set of fairy lights for the shelves and then I really must do something about those boring cupboard doors. Thoughts anyone?



The skirt went from this


to this


and I got


Ilkley Flower Show is a small local show which I have to say seems to have gotten much smaller this year. The main reason for entering was to ensure that I completed the project and didn’t just push it to the back of a cupbaord. Working with all recycled materials forces you to think and be creative and is very enjoyable – give it a try. Perhaps it should be a workshop theme?


Skirt remodelling part 4

I bet you were beginning to think I’d never finish this project and I do have to own up to an amount of dithering. Happily it’ is finished. This is a long post with a lot of pictures so grab a drink then relax as I take you through the journey It began life like this.


Then it looked like this.


Ugh! I really didn’t like that. After deciding to turn it into a bag I straightened the edges.


I also decided to add some detail on top of the fabric through needle felting.


And a pocket on the inside. The fabric is flipped the other way so that there’s a contrast and the pocket stands out.


I stitched the side and bottom seams with a few tack stitches then it was ready to be felted together.


Once felted I removed the stitches and dried the bag with the top folded over giving a lovely contrast collar. I did felt a strip of fabric to form a handle but once finished I just felt it was too lightweight for the bag and had to rethink that one. A trip to the charity shops found me this belt which is just perfect isn’t it. Just look at the colour of those beads!


I used some rusty washers from a jar that I rescued from my father-in-laws’ garage some years ago and they’re stitched on with rug wool which I rescued from a skip and dyed up.


After punching an extra hole in the end of the belt I attached it using more rug wool. I’m not entirely sure I like this but I wanted to use only recycled items. If it doesn’t work out I may buy a couple of brass rings later.


After further searching through the jar I found a few more washers and a metal tube (no idea what that was for) which I used to make a fastening.


More of the rug wool used to make a linked chain.


It goes across the bag and the cylinder is used as a toggle fastening.


Do you like it?


I’m pleased the fastening works so well.


It’s a nice long strap and you can see the pattern well on the bag. One of my favourite decorations.


So pleased with it.


The only ‘new’ item in this bag is the wool I used in the felting. I’m entering this into the Ilkley Flower Show tomorrow in the something new from something old category. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how I get on but most of all I’m looking forward to using this bag. I even made it deep enough to take my knitting needles!

A spot of recycling

After the celebrations of new year I knew it would be a late start for my daughter on new years day and so sought to keep myself busy with a little recycling. I began by taking some rusty washers (I really can’t throw such things away), some discarded packaging paper (book delivery- yippee, can’t have enough books) and some slippy shiny yarn that I was tempted to buy eons ago and never got around to using.

The paper was a little creased so I screwed it up and added a few more creases for extra texture. The washers I covered in thread then stitched them onto the paper, sprayed the whole thing with glitter spray, then stuck it onto card. It’s a birthday card for my Mum.

Surfing the net yesterday I came across an idea for making flowers from the cardboard insides of toilet rolls. It just so happened that I came across one of these yesterday and decided to have a go at a simplified version to see if I like the idea.

Start by squishing the roll flat then cut off five slices of any thickness you’d like, but they do need to all be the same width. Punch holes in one end of each piece then thread half a pipe cleaner through, twist to secure and form one end into a loop for hanging. Spread the five pieces out evenly. You can of course do this with any number of cardboard slices.

I’m pleased with this simple idea and will spray this one up white but they’d make a lovely garland in all kinds of colours and a great one to do with kids on rainy days. Think of the fun and mess of painting them! A second pipe cleaner round the outer edge would help larger ones to keep their shape.


Even more recycling

I still had some of the little fabric pieces that I made in order to create the heart shaped wreath.

I’ve been playing around with them to see what else I could create. Many of the ‘creations’ have
been scrapped but I’m loving these dinky brooches.

They’d look good on hair slides too.


Recycling 2

I have so enjoyed this project. Fun and quick.
Rather than a round wreath I decided on a heart shaped one to hang on my studio wall.I began by cutting it out on paper to ensure I liked the shape. The cardboard wasn’t very strong so I cut out two shapes and glued them together.

The next job was to glue on some ribbon for a hanging mechanism and then start the fun bit of
sticking on the felt. I used a hot glue gun.

As I moved along I kept changing the way the shapes were attached to change the direction of the folds.

This is just fab, I’m loving it.

Still loving it but decided to add a few more decorations in the shape of felt balls.

I couldn’t stop there either so I applied a small amount of glitter glue to the edges.
Sorry, you can’t see it on the photos

It’s not dry but it’s already hanging on my wall.
Maybe a round one for Christmas next.


Do you remember this?

I really wasn’t happy with it and several people were kind enough to make suggestions on how I might improve it. Well, it then sat in my cupboard for 7 months. Last week, I mustered sufficient enthusiasm to look at it again and even to put a few stitches in it.

I then asked another friend what she thought and her idea was to chop it up and make it into something else. Now I think she meant something else in which you’d see the design but that doesn’t seem to have been what I’ve done.

This is going to be a project you can do at home with the kids or alone. Felt won’t fray so I began by cutting lots of squares.

And made them into these.

They’re very rough discs. They don’t have to be perfect circles or be the same size, this is why it’s a good one to do with kids. Next, I folded them in half and then in half again and secured with a few stitches.

Now I have lots of these. In my next post I’ll show you what I made with them.

Don’t throw your offcuts away, save them for stuffing small Christmas tree decorations or
put them in the compost.No landfill here thanks.

2 down 4 to go

It’s been a very busy week as I’ve been out and about working with the six schools in Skipton, to produce felt wallhangings for display at Art in the Pen. This has been my first opportunity all week to blog and I hope you like what you see. First up is the work by year six children of St.Stephen’s Catholic School.

Culture is the theme to reflect that they have children from over ten countries in their school. Each child produced a picture and we made the winning entry as the wallhanging. The background has carded fibres and recycled sari silk fibres. Next up is the work by year five and six children from Ings Community Primary School.

You can probably guess the theme – seaside. The artwork was based on work they’d been doing around seaside and a trip to the beach on the previous day. We’ve incorporated pieces of fishing rope and broken glass found on the beach. Haven’t they all done well.

Textile Art Pool workshop

This is the final one of my three workshops for Textile Art Pool a cheerful creative bunch of ladies dedicated to textiles. Their main activity is quilting but they like to broaden their work and incorporate new skills where they can. Our focus for the day was texture although some preferred to focus on pictoral work.

We used; net vegetable bags, throwsters silk waste, cotton wool, recycled plastic fibres, crystal organza, muslin, hessian and ropes from old blinds to create the textures. As usual, the ladies were enthusiastic, creative and supplied me with a fbaulous lunch. My thanks to you all.