Christmas Match Box Scenes

There’s nothing like Christmas approaching to bring out our inner creative diva in you. I have created kitsch Christmas scenes that you’ll look forward to welcoming back every Christmas season. I gathered up a variety of novelties, sentimental scraps, cake decorations, broken costume jewellery of yesteryear and brought them all together to make scenes in these brightly painted boxes. To make something really eye catching the knack is to think Alice in Wonderland, play with scale and perception.

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You will need

Old match boxes in a variety of sizes

Acrylic paint

Command strips

Hot glue gun

Plastic animal toys

Thin polyester wadding

Cake decorations

Paintbrush

Bobble fringe

PVA glue

Glitter

Small bowl

Spoon

Embossed paper cake decoration

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Paint the boxes with 2 coats of acrylic paint, leave to drystep2.JPG

Pour the glitter into a small bowl, paint the animals with a layer of PVA glue, then spoon the glitter over the glued surface, leave to dry

step3

Cut the polyester wadding into a mountain scape silhouette, stick in place at the back of the box using a glue gun.

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Stick on stars and sequins, trees and the glittered animals.

step5

Measure round the box and cut the bobble fringe or cake decorating paper to length. Glue in place around the edge using a glue gun. Add Christmas cake messages or costume jewellery to the top edge.

Stick up on the wall using removable Command strips.

Tip

Use up old paint match pots for painting the match boxes.

Round up old scraps of ribbon, children’s mini toys,

Jam Jar Christmas Lanterns

This project is recycling at its simplest.

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You will need

Corrugated card

Rustoleum metallic spray paints in gold and copper

Some glue dots

Ikea LED nightlights

Jam jars

Instructions

1.Gather together your materials.  1 night light for each jar.

Step1

2.Rip the corrugated card into strips

Step 2

3.In a well ventilated, space, spray the strips copper colour and gold. Leave to dry

Step3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Place the cardboard strips round the jar, stick with a glue dot. You may want to place two different colour cuffs round the jar.

Step 4

Tip:

If you want to use these as night lights in the garden make a thin wire loop round the jar neck and a hanging loop from that. Being LED’s they won’t blow out.

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Meet the Maker: Deirdre Hawken

DeidreDeidre Hawken makes what might loosely be called hats or head pieces. However that description does not do justice to the exquisite intricate pieces of work created by this multi talented designer. I and my photographer went to interview her recently in her studio. radish salad toms opener

 

JB.I know you as a hat designer and maker, but I understand  that you also design and make jewelry. Can you tell us which discipline you trained in and how you came to practice both?

DH I trained in theater design, sets and costume, at the Central School of Art and Design, now Central St Martins.

 

I worked as a Theater Designer for some time and I was an Art Director for a couple of design companies, but I have always loved the design and making process. I have made costume accessories for The Royal Opera House, English National Ballet and the BBC, I also designed a run of windows for Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and made props for Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Asprey Ltd and I had an exhibition in Fortnum and Mason among others, and I created collections of jewellery with my sculptor husband for various fashion designers.

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JB.What is a typical day for you?

DH. There is no typical day! I could be designing hats or jewellery or researching new work, seeing a client or dealing with boring administration.

into studio

 JB. What do you love most, about what you do?

DH.I love researching ideas, it is now so easy on the internet, and as I said I love everything about the making process, especially dyeing fabrics.

working pages with fabrics dyed

 JB.What do you dislike most about what you do?

DH Any kind of administration.

JB.Have you ever worked for anyone else? Or done any collaborations ? If so with whom?

DH.When you are a designer for the theater you’re basically working with and for the director, but I have been a freelance designer most of my life. I did collaborate with a jeweler, we were asked to make a joint piece, but I did not really enjoy the experience. I have also made jewellery with my husband.

mushroom onions etc

 JB.What made you want to start your own creative business?

DH. I love working for myself, although I sometimes have an assistant on a really big job, such as when I made jewellery for Saks 5th Avenue.

 JB.Have you had any training recently? If so where and why?

DH.Not recently, but in 1998 I won a scholarship to study couture millinery. This was through QEST, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. There are no age limits and but you do have to fill in a very difficult application form. I trained with Rose Cory in Couture Millinery and had an internship with Stephen Jones. I also went to America and studied at the Met.

JB.Can you describe your creative process?

DH.First I have an idea, then I research, choose the materials. I only work with a few materials, leather, silk taffeta, silk velvet silk organza and organdie. I dye all the fabrics myself using Dylon dyes. I then decide how to make the headpiece or perhaps a collection of jewellery. Most of my headpieces are one off designs. I never make another piece exactly the same.

cigar making in progress

JB.What are your biggest challenges?

DH.Selling work.

cigars

JB. What advice would you give to someone starting out in your field today?

DH.It has always been difficult to be self-employed, especially in the Creative Sector, I believe good training is essential, also you must have self belief.

JB.Compared with when you started, do you think it is easier for designers to set up on their own nowadays or more difficult?

DH.I think it is harder, as everyone thinks they can be an artist or a designer.

JB.Have you exhibited? If so, where?

DH. I have had so many exhibitions it is hard to choose which ones to talk about. I have work in the following Public Collections: Victoria and Albert Museum – London, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute – New York, Kyoto Institute of Costume – Tokyo, Graves Art Gallery– Sheffield, Museum of Costume –Bath, Philadelphia Museum of Art-USA, Hat Museum- Stockport.

 JB.How do you find clients?

DH. Clients come to me and I sell at exhibitions.

JB. What are you currently working on?

DH.A very tricky Summer Pudding Headpiece for submission for the London Hat Show early 2018.

summer pudding

 JB.Do you teach or run workshops? If so where?

DH. Not now! I have taught at various Art colleges and was an assessor for the BA Jewellery course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and design, Dundee for three years. I have given many talks including one at the V &A and many workshops all over the country.

lemons leather

 JB.What is next?

DH. I am developing a range of headpieces which can be displayed as Still Life’s in acrylic cases, which I am finding very exciting.salad

 

JB. That is a great idea, your work is far too lovely to store out of site, in a hat box.

Many thanks Juliet

http://www.deirdrehawken.com/

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Giddy Goat Sweater cushion

 

Goat Jumper

I loved this “Joseph” sweater, I bought it second hand  when my daughter was a baby. I had wore it to death and washed and washed it. In the end it was so felted I got a very talented lady to knit me a new one and I made a cushion out of the original.

You will need

1 Sweater

Sewing machine

Thread

Scissors

Seam unpicker

needle and wool

Old cushion pad

Instructions

1 Goat sweater

  1. Using the seam un-picker, open up the side seams.4 unstitch side seams.JPG
  2. Cut two rectangles from the front and the back of the sweater, and with right sides facing,  pin and then using a 1 cm seam allowance , sew them together round 3 sides. Leave what was the bottom of the sweater open, as they are neat edges. 6 sew sides seams together .jpg
  3. Turn the cover through, insert the cushion pad, close with an over sew stitch. 8 Put cushion pad  inside and sew open seam .jpg

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CREATIVE COLLAGE by Clare Youngs

30 projects to transform your collages into wall art, personalized stationery, home accessories

9781782494898

In Creative Collage, author Clare Youngs reveals the secrets of collaging, one of her favourite crafts.

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As she says in her introduction

“Great artists who made collage part of their lifetime’s work have always inspired me. Although the techniques have been used since the invention of paper in China around 200 B.C.E., the word “collage” was first used in connection with art by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century, when the technique became an important part of the Modern Art movement.”

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In this book Clare teaches you about the kinds of paper you can use, such as maps, tickets, photographs, typography and magazine pages, and how to add texture, use layering and make use of geometric designs. Some of Clare’s amazing collages are included for inspiration, and she explains how she chose the materials and composition for each one.

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“We can stand back in awe at the work of great artists, but in fact collage is something that anyone can enjoy. It is inexpensive, you don’t need a lot of equipment, it frees your mind, and allows you to release creativity within you that you didn’t even know was there. Great things happen when you let go a bit—what’s not to love?

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Clare then presents a collection of projects that offer unique ways of displaying and using collages even making 3-D collages, such as a découpaged chest of drawers and a family photo wooden block house. She explains how to use collage on fabrics and ceramics as well as a lamp shade and place mats.Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 15.22.22

Along with helpful prompts to give you ideas for collages, this book provides all you need to get started with this personal, expressive craft.

Her other books include Folded Book Art, A Year in Crafts, Colour Yourself to Happiness, Book Art, Mobile Art, Wall Art, Make Your Own Woodland Creatures, Letter Art and Folk Art Needlecraft

Published by Cico BooksCREATIVE COLLAGE November 14th 2017 £12.99

I highly recommend this book and suggest you buy at least two copies, one to keep and one to give away as a present.

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Recycled Butterfly Chair

Butterfly chairs are back in vogue again. I saw lots of them at Maison et Objets in Paris. They were covered in a variety of fabrics and skins including leather and pony skin. I bought this old butterfly chair in a junk shop for £10. The cover was rust stained and not very nice so I decided to give it a revamp.

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You will need

3 metres of white cotton drill

Dylon goldfish orange machine dye

Dylon Tulip Red machine dye

Dress making scissors

Sewing machine

Thread

Pen

15mm bias binding

Instructions

  1. Cut the fabric in half and using the instructions on the pot, dye half the fabric red and half orange.
  2. Draw round the old cover to make a pattern and don’t forget to add the seam allowance
  3. Cut out the pieces and sew the pieces first in one colour and then in the next together as in the original pattern.
  4. The only difficult part is pinning and stretching the seat top to the seat bottom as you are joining a concave piece of fabric to a convex piece. With right sides facing, pin the top of the seat to the bottom at the center seam. Sew from the center of the seat outwards stretching as you sew. This way the two pieces will fit together. Repeat this step to join the other half of the chair top to the chair bottom.
  5. The pockets for the front and back of the seam are neatened at their bases and then sewn with raw edges onto the cover. This is repeated for the reverse of the seat.
  6. Once the pockets are in place, with wrong sides facing, sew the seat top to the seat bottom round the edge and then hide all the raw edges with bias binding.

butterfly chair .jpeg

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Making Winter by Emma Mitchell

I recently finished reading Making Winter a creative guide for surviving the winter months by Emma Mitchell. I’m so pleased I did.

Making Winter Cover

What drew me to this book was, that I had attended a drop in workshop on paper flower making at Anthropologie, given by Emma Mitchell. I was very impressed by her organization skills, it is not easy running drop in workshops. How do you know how many to cater for? How do you divide up your time? She made it work and at the same time ensured it was great fun, and her enthusiasm was contagious. Everyone went home with something hand crafted and beautiful.

So when I heard she was writing a book I decided I had to read it.

First of all let me say the book is beautiful to look at and to hold. As well as writing it Emma has done her own photography and illustrations.

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The book is a real necessity for the cold dark winter months. I love the way Emma engages her readers.

From her introduction it is clear that she really knows the effect that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can have on us. She explains how as many as a third of adults in the UK are affected by the decrease in daylight hours and colour during winter. Her book came about from the discovery that crafts and creativity helped to lift the mood. Recently scientific research has supported her findings that yarncraft can lead to relaxation or meditation-like response similar to Yoga.

The book is filled with lots of different projects to engage in from preserving leaves, to crocheting, baking and making silver fossil pendants and even making your own firelighters. There are lots of foraged crafts, nothing is too expensive and the book finishes on a high note looking forward to spring.Silver Fossil Pendant.jpg

“Making things during winter is a cunning strategy to help replace the feel good brain chemicals that may falter during these dingier months.’”

Emma describes her book as a survival guide to winter, a means to embrace the drab days and to fill them with wrist warmers and baked goodness.Woodland Wreath 1.jpg

As she says” Grab your crotchet hooks, yarn and cocoa powder. Onwards into the cold…”

At £14.99 this book is worth every penny spent, buy two copies one for yourself and one for a friend.

Emma Mitchell  on instagram as @silverpebble2

Published by LOM ART an imprint of Michael O’Mara Books