Blog, book review, Book Reviews


25 Projects to make from short lengths of fabric

By Susie Johns

Photographer  Neal Grundy

This is one in a series of fat quarter books. Fat quarters are handy pre-cut pieces of fabric 18 x 22ins (46 x 56cm) They are often used for quilted projects. Susie has previously written many different craft books including Fat Quarter Toys, and Bags and Purses. I wrote two in the same series along with, my then business partner, the famous Flower Stylist Amanda Russell.

I was green with envy when I saw this book as I have a considerable stash of vintage fabrics, particularly from 1950’s and 1960’s, and would love to create a book with them.

 The book is cleverly divided into projects from different decades of the twentieth century, the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. There are twenty five projects in all and include both home items and fashion accessories.

There are projects such as a baby changing mat, bow tie, owl mobile, child’s dress, appliqué cushion etc. The book opens with a materials and equipment chapter followed by a techniques chapter.

Each project comes with easy to understand step by step photographs and instructions. The author has even chosen old fashioned looking children to model the bow ties, dress and baby blanket. This is a sweet and charming book that would make a wonderful Christmas present.


Make your own colour block dipped art

I love the dipped effect, so when I was trying to find an interesting way to give old paintings and portraits a modern twist, dipping them seemed like the perfect project, making pretty much anything look like expensive quirky art.


What you will need:


1. Remove the glass and picture from the frame. Take the frame and Rust-Oleum spray paint (we used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold) and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the frame and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart. Once fully dry, pop the painting back into the frame.


2. Take a strip of masking tape and press the tape against some fabric to test that it isn’t too sticky (otherwise you may have trouble getting it off the photo without damaging it). Place the tape across the photo and frame and press down lightly.


3. Using a sponge, dab the paint across the painting and the frame, building up the paint until the lower half of the painting and the frame is covered. Once fully dry, peel off the masking tape and hang!




Make your very own lamp out of vintage mechano

I found an old box of my husband’s Meccano pieces in the attic and thought the industrial vibe would transform into a great lamp. You can find bits of Meccano in second hand shops and on line or buy new from places such as Argos RRP from £9.99


You will need

Turquoise flex and a bulb  Iconic lights

5 x flat mechano pieces with right angled sides 14cmx 6.5cm with sides 0.5cm

2 x 13.5cm x 6.5cm flat mechano pieces without right angled sides

Wheel with diameter of 7.5cm

2 Cross brace pieces with zig zags 31cm x 5cm

14cm x 0.8cm flat metal batton

Box of meccano screws and bolts

Screw driver



1.Using the flat pieces with the right angled sides, screw them together to construct a rectangle with a hole in the centre.

2. Screw one of the flat pieces 13.5cm x 6.5cm at the back of the rectangle shape to the far right, this will help hold it rigid.

3.Screw one narrow side of the other flat piece 13.5cm x 6.5cm, onto the top edge piece at the back of the box shape on the far left so it is sticking upwards.

4. Three holes from the top, screw the top edge onto the last piece with right angled sides.

5 Turn the lamp round and attach one cross brace from the right hand bottom corner hold at, a 45 degree, angle and screw it where the brace meets the top of the box approx 5 screws in.

6 Screw where the brace cross piece meets the other last right angled piece of Meccano.

7. At approx. 45 degrees in the other direction slip the last cross brace between the flat plate and the first cross brace. Screw together. The result should look like a zig zag.

8. To make the whole thing stable screw the flat metal batton to the angled piece at one end and to the cross brace you just fitted at the other.

9.Screw on the wheel to the highest point of the second cross brace.

10. Thread the light fitting through the cross braces.

You may not be able to get exactly the same pieces as we did, in which case build your own design. Just make sure the base is stable and strong enough to hold the flex and bulb.