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Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Upcycling Pillow Slips

by Amanda of Live Life Simply

I made a couple of grocery totes from vintage pillow slips during the week. They were quick to sew up, use an entire pillow slip (no waste), are durable being double layered and roomy enough to fit plenty of farmers market goodies inside!



The pdf pattern for this tote can be found at Spiderwomanknits .It is a free tutorial and is very easy to follow. I did however make a small change to mine and I top stitched the edges of the handles.


I like that these bags are super simple, thrifty and green. I'm making more of these this week!


There are many more ways to upcycle pillow slips. I designed a pre-fold nappy last year from a flannel pillow slip and it is still going strong. I have also cut embroidered pillow slips down into a square shape and made them into simple cushion covers


Here are some more ideas for pillow slip upcycling that I am adding to my list!

Pillow slip into a:

Pretty top
Apron
Little Dress

There are plenty more ideas out there and I would love to hear if you have made something out of a vintage pillow slip too. I have a collection of slips waiting to be transformed into useful things!

Amanda x

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Praise of Craftsmanship

by Linda from The Witches Kitchen


Every year in my community, as part of our winter solstice celebrations, we have a gift giving ritual.  We draw names out of a hat six weeks earlier, and hand make a gift. This year, Garry drew me and made me these bellows for my slow combustion stove.  I can't seem to stand still for photos, but you can see my expression when I was given it. 


It is the most beautiful thing.  The wood is smooth and oiled and smells delicious. The brass nozzle is shiny and perfectly proportioned. The leather is soft and attached with a strip of reinforcing leather and rows of painstakingly positioned studs. The handles are rounded and smooth and shaped to fit perfectly in a grasp, and have little wedges holding them at the right angle.  It has my name etched in the front and a sun etched in the back and "Yule 2012" inside the handles.  Every part is beautiful, but then the whole is something more.  Perfectly proportioned, shaped, textured, designed.


And it works. Magnificently Last night it was wet and cold and we had been out late and busy and had no dry kindling. I managed to light a fire with paper and hardwood and my bellows. No kindling.

Stuff. There is Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff, and there is this, and they are at opposite ends of a continuum. My bellows are made from recycled parts, but that's not the point. They are a thing made with craftsmanship, and I think if all our "stuff" was made with craftsmanship, that's all the revolution we need.

Craftsmanship is where design and execution both peak together. It's where a uniquely human big brain creates a concept for a thing that is both beautiful and functional, or maybe beautiful because it is so perfectly functional. And then where our uniquely human opposable thumbs and long life allow the development of enough precision and dexterity and skill to manifest the design. Craftsmanship is where quality comes together with beauty, where thought and skill and attention meet and the result is something that will last and will be treasured for a generation or more.

So this post is in praise of craftsmanship.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Herbal Play dough

An easy to create play experience for kids is homemade play dough. It is so simple to make, stores well in the fridge and is much cheaper and kinder to your child than the store bought stuff! This is one of my tried and true recipes.

PLAIN PLAY DOUGH

1 1/2 cups of salt
3 cups of plain flour
3 cups of water
2 tbsp of cream of tartar
3 tbsp of olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan.





Warm gently over low heat on the stove and continue to stir until mixture thickens and starts to form a ball. Allow to cool slightly then knead on a protected surface until nice and smooth.



I cut mine up into portions, wrap in baking paper or greaseproof paper and store in an old tupperware container in the fridge. The play dough should last this way for a very long time, unless exposed to air. Mold can occur over time if bacteria is present in the dough...just let your nose and eyes guide you there. I have read that a tablespoon of vinegar added to the batch can hinder mould growth, but I haven't tried this as yet.

At home I mostly make plain colour play dough and let the kids experiment with texture, colour and fragrance using things from around the house and from the garden. I particularly love making Herbal Play dough as the textures and fragrances are very stimulating. I place a few bowls of plant items for the children's own selection and they help themselves to make their own smelly shapes. Dough with raw plant pieces doesn't last that well, so you may like to portion off small amounts from the original batch and just toss after a couple of days.



Other aromatic dough suggestions:
  • Spices eg. ground cinnamon, ginger or allspice or try colouring with turmeric
  • Essential oils for aroma (taking into consideration the age of the children and safe quantities per recipe)
If you have children with allergies or a food intolerance you may like to try a recipe that excludes the trigger items. There are plenty of rice flour and gluten free recipes on the internet for you to try. There are plenty of no cook and microwave recipes too! Do you have a favourite family recipe?

Amanda

PLEASE NOTE: As with all children's activities it is best to supervise and do ensure that dough and plant pieces are not consumed.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Creating


 By Aurora@Island Dreaming


This months project has been soap, led by the example of a good friend. So excited have I been by the knowledge that I can make yet another necessity of life at home from three simple ingredients, that I made two batches and have been melting them down and adding things to them, just to see what can be done. Exercising my creativity and personal preference, in this instance, to make a soap that soothes, or at the very least does not irritate, my problem skin.

I am not what you might call traditionally creative – I am no artist, unlike many of my relatives. I have long loved the idea of setting out as a creator of musical works, as a dancer, as a sculptor, as a creative force, putting in my 10,000 hours of hard slog to then reap and sow the rewards of mastery. But I am a tinkerer and have never found anything to so catch my imagination that I could invest 10,000 hours in it. Yet I create in many ways – I am not artistic, but creative.

There was a time when not only did I not create, but I consumed with abandon. It was a short period of my life where I came to have disposable credit and the marketplace was eager to furnish me with worldly goods - in every flavour of synthetic vanilla that I could handle. The consumer economy does a nice line in convincing us that we can have the perfect life, if we just buy x. And then the new improved version of x a few months later. But ultimately everything that is mass produced is designed with an average imaginary customer in mind.

I never did find a mass produced soap that didn't inflame my skin. I never found the perfect sofa to fit in our small lounge. I still to this day would love to find the perfect pair of jeans, but I know that they will have to be made, not bought. The mass market can furnish us amply with things that almost meet our true needs. If you have unlimited time and money, then your chances of finding a match between need and product offered increases, but for the rest of us we often make do; and we may be called to compromise not just our personal tastes and preferences, but our ethics also. Whilst the market for 'ethical' goods expands, it is still hard to furnish the necessities of life from its offerings; and whilst the pursuit of perfection is futile, the reality of flimsy or poorly designed products can be infuriating.

As consumers of raw materials, as creators of finished products, we ultimately arrive at something more meaningful and more personal - if often roughly hewn - than the mass produced could ever offer. As salvagers and renovators we reject synthetic vanilla and one size fits all to find the best imperfect solutions we can. We use what we have to create something worthwhile. We make do, in the very best sense; and it is inherently rewarding.

I am almost over soap, for the time being at least (and we now have enough to ride out a few years cleanly!). There is sauerkraut fermenting on the side, making best use of an extra cabbage picked up for pennies last week. This is weighed down by a demijohn of pomegranate wine made from bottled juice that was on offer. There are bath bombs waiting to be wrapped and given as gifts and a pile of DIY and craft books stacked high on the solid side table that was once a wobbly chest of drawers. It isn't artistic, it isn't beautifully staged, but it is a very creative space.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Candle Making

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

Today my friend and I, with our nine children (between us) made all sorts of candles from beeswax - most of it from her beehives.

Firstly, we gathered materials outdoors - old tables, aprons, gas burners, old pots and bowls, jars and tins, newspaper, pop sticks and blu tack.  With so many people, mostly children, candle-making is a messy activity!  We also had blocks of beeswax, some offcuts of beeswax sheets and some wick.

Beforehand, we had a look at a candle-making book and searched online for methods to try.  We'd made rolled candles before, so that was the easiest way to begin.

While we set up the pots to melt wax, the children rolled small tapered candles from triangles of beeswax sheet.  They got the hang of it quickly and finished off the whole box of sheets in no time.

Next we tried dipping candles.  It was a slow process and the adults tired of it very quickly, but the children were fascinated by the lumpy-bumpy results of their dipping!  Some of us dipped some tapered candles, to fill the gaps in the beeswax sheets so they'll burn longer, and to give a different finish.

A sample of the results of our candle-making.


We also made a couple of candles in moulds, and it gave the neatest, fastest result.  Because we have access to a lot of wax, we'll be hunting down some more moulds for our next candle-making day!

It's great fun to make things with children.  Their focus on the process, not the product, helps us lighten up and enjoy the activity more.

Have you made anything new lately?