Art Journal: Upcycled Tumble Dryer Sheets

I was cleaning out the tumble dryer filter this morning, and aside from popping some of the fluff outside for the birds feverishly making nests, I noticed a whole pile of tumble dryer sheets in the fluff collection above the washing machine. I’d heard that they make great inclusions in mixed media work (as do baby wipes btw), so I decided (as I do) to make an art journal from them. And a few hours later, a full mixed media journal is complete.

Continue reading

New Year’s Day Project: Card Collage


It’s the annual Christmas Party for my studio regulars tomorrow, and traditionally we do a project that upcycles the now defunct Christmas cards and wrapping paper. This time I thought we’d do a little home decor piece ready to pack away with the decorations to bring out again next Christmas. Here’s my example, created in a Tando Creative Mini Printer Tray (laser cut greybeard).

Continue reading

Half A Pound of Tuppenny Rice… and a few socks


I’m still in making mode for the church Christmas Fayre… and inspired by yet another Facebook shared video, I have three snowmen families gracing my studio table, one of which has chosen this as their official Christmas card. Nobody mentioned that sports socks are now rarely just white, seemingly requiring colour splashes to be able to match them up when mixed in the gym bag. Good old George at Asda came up trumps though 🙂

And prices have gone up since rice was tuppenny… with each family weighing in at 1333g of Basics rice, that’s more like 3lbs of rice for £1. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

And the pompoms, despite a wonderful gizmo to help, still took an hour to make and sew on. I think it was worth it though for the finishing sparkling touch.

Continue reading

A little upcycling: converting a cutlery canteen

I’m determined to have a clear out some of the things I’ve kept as ‘they’ll come in handy’ to make room for things I actually use. To that end, I’ve upcycled a shabby (empty) old cutlery canteen that was previously being kept in my grandfather’s old shed, and then languished in my outhouse/garage and shed for even more years. I stripped out the innards, sanded everything back and revarnished with a dark oak polyurethane varnish. I relined it with ‘antique red’ felt, and it now complements the lounge decor as a handy hidey-hole for the remotes and glasses I find necessary to have the TV in focus.


Continue reading

Eclectic Elements Thread Catcher

IMG_5583_wI took delivery of my new Pfaff Hobbylock 2.5 yesterday, and after I managed to work out how to rethread it, I of course had to have a go. After a couple of hours yesterday, and a couple more today, I’m officially loving it! I’ve learnt what not to do on it… and that it’s best to have the sewing machine out at the same time. Me being me, I decided to work on a project I’d had in mind for a while, namely to make a thread catcher for use next to the sewing machine. I didn’t like many I’d seen on the web, so I adapted various ideas and made my own. Continue reading

Greeting Card Art Journal


I’m meant to be recording tutorial videos this week, but have been kindly handed a cold and laryngitis… so I’m catching up with some of the things that don’t need a voice to action! This is another project that has sat in the corner of the studio for most of the year that I decided to finish for my altered art demo day last week. I’ve upcycled various greeting cards that were saved from birthdays and Christmases into a functional and hard wearing art journal.

Continue reading

Altered Art Baccy Tin

I once smoked cigars, back when I had money to burn. Cigar boxes are great for altering. Then came the career change and I switched to an occasional pipe, and no longer were boxes in ready supply. Instead I have an increasing pile of round tobacco tins, as I was sure I would find a use for them (other than hoarding screws in them that is). Well yesterday I had a spark of inspiration (I blame the new medication) and I’ve spent some time using skills with a piercing saw that I picked up at college. A pierced celtic knot allows the contained pot-pourri pong to escape and gives tantalising glimpses of the bits ‘n’ bobs  included. Perfect piece of pungent upcycling!

Top tips:

  • Find stencil patterns to adapt – that way you know whole chunks you wanted to keep won’t suddenly fall into the bin
  • Remove all labels and adhesive from the tin before you start cutting
  • Use a decent piercing saw and a blade with high number of teeth per inch for a smooth cut – change regularly even if you don’t manage to break the blade
  • Use a jeweller’s bench peg to work on as it’s so much safer and easier
  • Regularly clean your cutting surface of the metal burrs – I didn’t at the start and that’s what has sanded off the gold around the edge
  • Mark the cutting lines on the inside of the lid and cut upside down as well – this reduces the bounce of the metal as you can hold it closer to the bench peg
  • Work from the middle out to help keep everything as rigid as possible
  • If you need to flatten out the final piercing, hit with a flat hammer onto a flat surface a couple of times.