As we are having such glorious weather I thought it would be fun to create some interesting storage jars for any seeds you have hanging around. I searched for small toy animals in a charity shop, where I found these wooden bunnies that I thought would be perfect for this project. I then discovered Rustoleum’s wonderful Universal paint that works on all surfaces, and doesn’t even need priming, and can be left outside. I thought that’s perfect for this project and so easy to do.
Using the universal paint, spray the toy and the lid of the jar in a bright primary colour.
Using the glue gun, stick the toy onto the center of the lid. Take the string out of the label and spray with blackboard paint. Leave to dry. Stick a binder reinforcement over the hole and re thread the string and then using chalk write the names of the seeds on the labels and tie round the jar.
I purchased a simple frame loom from a thrift shop but the similar can be found at Hobby Craft or Tiger or you can make your own using a picture frame and some nails. I displayed the hanging from a broken branch I found in the garden.
Plastic bags in a variety of colours
Cotton warp thread or string
Fat twig or thin branch for hanging
Cut the bag into strips 0.5cm wide. Knot the strips together so you have one long strip.
Thread the loom by tying on the thread at one side and then going backwards and forwards between the top end and the bottom end of the frame. It is important to maintain an even tension. Tie off the thread in the same way as you tied on the thread.
So that the weaving doesn’t fall out when you finish you will need to make a twisted header. Cut a piece of warp thread about two and a half times the width of the warp. Twist the thread round each warp thread in turn. As in the image.
When you get to the end of the warp return in the opposite direction push the threads down and tie off at the end.
Thread the plastic onto the shuttle and then starting in the middle of the warp take the shuttle under and over until you reach one end, then go back the other way.
As you work push down the weft to cover the warp. When you have made a stripe of one colour change to another.
To make tassels cut strips of plastic (blue)about 20cm long. Choose a middle section of the hanging and put the blue plastic behind two warp threads at the same time. Wrap one side round one thread and the other round the other , pull the threads through to the front of the hanging. Add as many of these as you like. Mine was so bunchy that when I hung it up I gave it a bit of a trim.
Weave another block of flat weaving. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to finish off.
Pull the ends off the loom and then thread onto the branch. Cut off the warp threads from the other end of the loom and knot them one to the next one.
Check that you are not creating a waist by pulling in the sides of the warp as you work.
To honour a great web site here is a review of the book Design*Sponge At Home
By Grace Bonney
Published by Artisan $35
The brilliant talented and inspirational Grace Bonney is closing down her web site ‘Design*Sponge.’ She was always well ahead of the game when it came to web sites and inspiring content. With this in mind I was thrilled to come across one of her books in a charity shop, Called ‘Design*Sponge at Home’ It came out in 2011
It even has a forward by Jonathan Adler.
In the book’s introduction Grace describes how she set up her web site in 2004 not realizing what a storm would come of it. She had always believed that good design didn’t have to come with a high price tag or with a professional degree.
though no one joined the discussion at first, Grace was delighted to have an
outlet to express her love of design and decorating. Within weeks her blog was
eliciting comments and e-mails and she felt like she was communicating with a
community that she hadn’t previously known existed.
When she was writing this book she said “Today, I wake up every morning and share news and inspiration from the design world with an audience that could fill Madison Square Garden. (How cool would it be if we could meet up every day like that?) It is quite simply a dream job.”
The first part of the book focuses on one
of Grace’s favourite pastimes: sneaking a peek inside some of the most
inspiring homes she has seen. Every home featured in the book is packed with
ideas that anyone can copy in their own houses. In addition to practical tips
on decorating and renovating, you learn about the history behind design
classics such as Chesterfield sofa’s and Hudson Bay blankets.
Inspiration and knowledge is only half the battle when it comes to designing the home of your dreams, so the second half of the book features do-it-yourself projects that have been tested by the team of editors of the book.
There are also Before and After makeovers featured with hints on how to turn a dowdy flea market dresser into a design delight, or on a larger scale, how to transform a dark hole of a kitchen into a modern chic space for cooking and entertainment.
This is the ultimate décor bible. The book includes home tours from artists and designers, clever DIY projects to help personalize your space, step-by-step tutorials on everything from hanging wallpaper to doing your own upholstery, a flower workshop with bouquets for every budget, and amazing before and after transformations.
With hundreds of inspiring tips and photo’s this is the only design book you will ever need.
Below is part of the letter that Grace Bonney has put on her web site prior to the closure of it on 31st August.
‘I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out the right way to close this beautiful, complex, and wonderfully meaningful place that I’ve had the honor of running and contributing to for the past 14 years. I’d written and re-written a letter like this dozens of times until this fall, when someone snuck into my mind and heart, and put everything I would have said onto (digital) paper. That person was Tavi Gevinson and when she closed Rookie she wrote the closing editor’s letter that I had always imagined, down to the very last word.
She talked about the changing publishing world, social media and the endless demand for more and more content (usually sponsored) that resulted in less and less support (financial and traffic) for publishers and their teams. She talked about the privilege and honor of doing what we do, and knowing the choices that would have to be made to keep things afloat would be at odds with the mission of the site (please do read her piece, she outlines the struggle of indie publishing better than anyone I’ve ever read). Most of all, she talked about starting and ending an artistic project with honesty and love at its core. And for me, that is all I have ever wanted.’
So as I finish this blog post I would like to say Thank you for all the joy Design*Sponge has given over the last few years. Juliet Bawden
This is the most unusual and beautiful pressed flower book I have ever seen. It is full of amazing compositions that are reminiscent of traditional American Quilts.
Early leafwork (1998)
using sycamore leaves and fennel seed heads. 15 x 15cm (6 x 6in)
As the publisher describes it, this is a contemporary twist on a traditional craft. It is a must-have guide to pressing flowers and leaves packed with exciting ideas and practical information for creating beautiful botanical works of art.
Ashmore, flower artist, breathes new life into traditional flower-pressing
techniques with a unique and spectacular kaleidoscope of floral and plant
designs, using everything from flower petals and leaves to seaweed and lichen.
Jennie studied painting and printmaking at
Exeter College of Art and for many years taught in art schools and worked in
environmental education, conservation and gardening. Her work has always
concerned the natural world and she has a strong interest in surface texture,
pattern and geometry, which are key to her designs. She teaches workshops and
sells her work.
The leaf works, guide and inspire through every stage of the process, from working seasonally and selecting the right plants for a vibrant colour, to experimenting with interesting texture and pattern. There are also tips for incorporating watercolour, gouache and other exciting materials into beautiful botanical creations.
The art of pressed flowers and leaves will
inspire readers to celebrate the beauty of their local landscape, a favourite
walk or garden, or even capture special memories through eternalizing wedding
bouquets or plants collected on a holiday.
Dunelm have pulled out all the stops and come up with some lovely home wear product for the end of this year and going into next year. They are even selling artificial cacti, flowers and plants. They had a very personable and enthusiastic Anna from Jar and Fern running a terrarium workshop, although she admitted to me this was the first time she had used fake cacti. The results looked pretty impressive.
The Cinnabar collection includes both soft furnishing and ceramics.
The textures used throughout their range are imaginative and beautiful, they include printed , woven and appliqued textiles.
Steven Rowe the head designer describes of home wares at Tesco describes spring /summer 2019
“In Fox & Ivy , the focus is on artisan, with watercolour illustrations, chunky weaves and hand-painted decals elevating the finer details. It’s finished with flashes of matt and shine lustre, alongside a colour palette that’s decadent while remaining light, fresh and floral for the season.”
Today’s make is really an Ikea Hack of a Nornas Bench transforming a rather dull nondescript softwood bench into an on trend vibrant padded seat/coffee table by being creative and painting, dying, and doing some sustainable up-cycling.
Following the makers instructions dye the velvet and leave to dry.
Saw off the edges of the bench so that there is no overhang.
Paint the bench black and leave to dry.
Cut a double layer of wadding the size of the bench top, plus enough to drape over the edges. Cut away the corners and then staple the wadding to the underside of the bench.
Press the velvet before using. Drape the velvet over the bench and leaving enough for a 2cm seam allowance, mark with a pen remove the fabric and then cut away the corners.
To give a neat edges to the corners, turn the corners under and iron on the webbing
Place the velvet over the wadding covered bench and staple the velvet into position on the underside.
To make the cushion. Cut an old duvet up so it is the size of the bench top.
Cut the rug into two pieces, the size of the bench top plus 1 cm all the way round.
Sew the old duvet round its edge to the wrong side of one piece of rug.
With right sides facing sew the piece of rug with the duvet attached to the other piece of rug. Sew round three and a half sides.
Turn the cover through the correct way and then close the opening by over sewing.
Tips. I learnt this trick at art school, when I was stretching frames for printmaking. To get straight edges when stapling, start in the middle of one side and staple to the edge then do it with the other edge and then repeat with the opposite side and then do the other two sides in the same way.