Category Archives: Craft

Summer Journal Days 6 and 7

I’m a bit behind with my summer journal for Myfanwys group. It isn’t that I haven’t been working on it, just enjoying the process. This weekend my friend and I decided that we would try something we’ve both always wanted to do, making paper. so I didn’t follow the prompts!

Here is a step on the way, pulping recycled paper in a food processor with paint to add colour.



Some of the results. This was for July 6th.


and here


Putting it to use, on July7th.


A Summer of Journaling

Myfanwy has organised a two month antidote to a summer of sport, a committment to creative journaling, on a new blog, ‘Write On’. She isn’t strict, it doesn’t have to be every single day and the prompts she is posting are ideas that you can choose to use or not. It’s about enjoying being creative.
I’ve decided to join in and rather than using an existing journal, I will use loose pages and make them into a hand stitched book at the end of August. That way it will be whatever size it is, rather than making myself feel guilty for only doing a few pages of a new book.
This morning at around 5am, the first prompt was to take some time to be quiet, and write about what you hear.
This is my first page, July 1st 2014.
journal page 1

Many of you will know Myfanway, she also blogs at Chittle Chattle and has created an inspiring Facebook Group, Be Creative.


There’s a new blog in town. It’s called Creating Something Every Day and has been created by Myfanwy, who some of you may know as Chittle Chattle.  For a weekend of fun and creativity Myfanwy posted 33 prompts with the idea of getting as many people as possible to spend 15 minutes , or more of course, seeing what they could produce. There is a Facebook group as well as her blog and for several days people around the world have been posting photos and sharing their makes. And what makes! the work has been both beautiful and inspiring, using a multitude of media, lots of which I’d never heard of.

I just posted once, to the Facebook group, three potential journal covers that I designed especially for the challenge.

These are all created from my photos, the central circles are from the chocolates I posted here . with some editing in Pixlr and Photoshop. The background type print is a photo that I took of my own short story.

I’m a dabbler and I quite like the results but if you go and peep at the Facebook page, the work there is wonderful. I think Myfanwy is repeating the challenge weekend once a month but you can also ask to join the group and share something you make at any time.

This will explain all!

Good Use of a Photo?

Back in March I walked along the Tiverton canal here in Devon. As usual I took many photos, a fair few of them were dull, out of focus, poor compositions, maybe that includes this one? Tivvy tree before

Sometimes an image can be redeemed, do you think that applies here?

tivvy tree

And even put to good use, like this.

Tivvy coptic

Tivvy packed

A beautiful coptic stitched notebook with a cover created from an indifferent image. Be careful what you delete!

Teapot Relief

I spotted my friend next door in her garden taking photos and went to investigate. She had a table full of teapots and gave me the go ahead to photograph them too! Apparently she has been knitting frantically to raise money for and hopes to sell these to her colleagues at work. She confessed that she has become rather obsessed with making them, and I understand why, aren’t they just little works of art? Some of the patterns come from Australia, but Katie has designed some herself and some of the wool is from Japan. I absolutely love them and hope they make lots of money on Red Nose Day.

Any ideas of the name for a collective of teapot covers? How about a coven of cosies? Further ideas welcome :-)
As always click on any picture to view the gallery.

Bah Humbug, not the 100wcgu!

I’ve failed again with Julia’s challenge  but I had a real ‘bah humbug’ on Sunday.  I went into town to try to finish my Christmas shopping and to be honest it didn’t start well, I got soaked on my twenty minute walk down and to add insult to injury it thundered! Never mind, my destination was the German style Christmas Market on the Cathedral green, it was sure to be good wasn’t it?

The aroma of burnt meat and spilt beer hit me at once, and repeated itself several times, and then there was the Belgian chocolate, Turkish Delight, French crepes, Italian cakes, Zimbabwean wood carvings, Chinese this, Chinese that, Chinese the other, and Chinese tat. I don’t know why I expected anything else, two weeks before I went to a similar market in Salisbury, all wooden chalets full of imported ‘goods’ as well, and left disappointed.

I decided to look for something locally mad; Devon is full of talented artists and craftspeople after all. I found some plants, the usual Christmas suspects, poinsettias and wreaths, funny little reindeer made of some material that must have grown from something originally, but I’ve no idea what. Just as I was losing the will to live I caught an earful of broad Devon accent and went to chat to a lady who was surrounded by wicker baskets, lots of which she had made herself. They were so nice that I could forgive her for having some ‘bought in’ stuff to sell as well.

The only other truly local stand I found, had beautiful clocks, coasters and mirrors made from slate, she was busy so I wasn’t able to talk to her, but they were such lovely gifts. How sad that there were so few handmade items, I know it must be expensive to have a chalet there, the high turnover needed probably makes it almost impossible to have enough stock.

So China wins. Even if the cash strapped shopper prefers the unique items made by talented creative people right here in England –my friend makes stunning hand stitched journals for instance, the mass produced versions are around half the price. One can but wonder how this is possible, some must make enough profit to justify the cost of importing and I’m sure others are earning a few pennies each day to try to feed their families. Meanwhile skills are disappearing and very little is actually made here in the UK.

I have nothing against real Continental/German Christmas markets and would love to visit one; maybe Frizz text can tell us what they are like in Berlin, charming I bet? But I don’t understand the appeal of these events that are springing up all around the country and there must be more here than on the continent!

So that’s my ‘bah humbug’ rant, I hope I haven’t upset you and I’d love to hear how you feel, perhaps the chalets are in your town too?The best bit!

Jake’s Sunday post: Natural Resources

A difficult one Jake but I hope this works! 

Just as it says, this is 100% wool felted into Dori cord. The wool comes from New Zealand and it is felted in Nepal and dyed using plants like senna, madder and indigo.

Nepali wild Hemp, linen from India and Giant Himalayan nettle cord and thread. All in its natural colour and hand spun in Nepal.

New Zealand wool again, dyed in Nepal with Rhubarb, Pomegranate, Madder, Myrobalan and Indigo.

For more photos of natural resources visit



Travel Theme: Texture

Ailsa has chosen texture this week. I like the different textures of and around this old sewing machine, wood that is decaying, metal that is rusting and stone that is crumbling. I also wonder what stories it could tell us, whose hand has turned the missing handle and how many garments it has helped to create. 

The photo was taken at Sultanhani Caravanserai on the road between Askaray and Konya, in Central Anatolia, Turkey.

Meeting Yuli

As some of you may know I am a crafter and I regularly go to country shows and craft fairs with my friend to sell our work. One of the things that makes it special is talking to people I wouldn’t usually get to meet.

And so I met Yuli, a gentle lady part of whose heritage is Norwegian, she touched my heart. She works with wool, creating the most unusual pieces that are functional and decorative. She began as a weaver in the 1990’s, but now makes felt. She lives right in the heart of Devon and her wool is sourced locally, from Umberleigh, a flock of Lleyn Welsh sheep and Hatherleigh, a Devon Close Wool flock, to keep the wool miles down. Yuli feels that it is important to encourage the growth of sheep farming and believes in sustainability.

Yuli has her felt dyed by a friend who uses only natural plant dyes. The soft but intense red comes from the roots of  Madder, or of Lady’s bedstraw. When researching Lady’s Bedstraw I came upon an interesting coincidence, in Norse mythology, Frigg was the goddess of married women, she helped women in childbirth, and Lady’s Bedstraw was used as a sedative that they called Frigg’s grass. A nice link to Yuli’s cultural history.

The other plant dyes used are Weld, which makes yellow, as does onion skin although the latter is not as colour fast. Indigo is used for beautiful blues as it has been for generations of blue jeans and by the nomadic Tuareg of the Sahara.

Her first felted pieces were hats and the off garment but her range has grown in several directions. I bought a bird token that hangs on a wool strand. She also makes horses, and uses both as decoration for tuffetts – yes just as little Miss Muffett sat on, only Yuli’s are each individual layered mats that give you a soft, comforting place to sit on a chair or even damp grass. Tea cosies, lovely little cushion rolls, hot water bottle covers, oven gloves and wall hangings to dream of, all have recurring motifs from nature.

Yuli has worked with schoolchildren, showing them the history of wool, textiles and dyeing, as well as hands on creating of beautiful art work. It was her own childhood experience that led to her most unusual and stunning creations, felt coffins. She experienced bereavement in her early years that had a profound effect on her and believes that death is dealt with badly in the West. The enduring impact of her loss led her to make her first shroud. I was taken aback when she told me but it quickly made sense, after all ordinary people would have been laid to rest in simple fabric shrouds. She told me that in 17th century Britain an act of parliament stated that woollen shrouds should be used, to help develop the woollen trade.

I have always hated the idea that I might be buried in the ground in a wooden box with brass handles taking a beautiful tree to do so. I had a vague idea of a sleeping bag liner or a cardboard box instead. But how comforting to be wrapped in soft felted wool from local sheep and returned to the earth. Yuli calls them Leaf Cocoons and they are carried on a strong wooden frame. This makes far more sense to me than a polished box.

Yuli’s website is here, visit, enjoy her wonderful work. I was so impressed and I’d like to hear what you think. Thank you, meeting you was special Yuli and I hope to see you again.