PaperLove Blog Hop – A recycling special

I am participating in my first ever blog hop and I hope that you all will join in with this blog hop and discover a new found love and appreciation for paper and maybe be inspired to create new projects as well.

This blog hop is all about a love for paper, and it is something I can totally relate too.  Take me shopping and I would rather spend my time in a stationery shop than a clothes shop! Getting a new note book is far more fulfilling than a new dress!

My love of paper extends to how you can recycle it to create new items which I feel in this day and age is important to recycle as much as possible, there is far too much waste in society.  Therefore I have explored recycling with three projects that use newspaper and unwanted office paper.

This weekend just gone, I decided to try making my own paper with texture, the plan is to use this paper as part of the Stitched Post Card swap.  I do hope to finish this postcard in the next day so I can get it sent off.  I will post pictures once it is completed.

Paper Making 1 (1 of 1)
I loosely followed a tutorial but mostly made it up as I went along, I like to experiment. I used mostly scrap computer paper as I read somewhere that newspaper would result in the paper being a bit greyish which makes sense.

Paper Making 2 (1 of 1)

This photo does not look nice, the bits of paper sat in this water for a couple hours and then I mulched it by hand to form a pulp.

Paper Making 3 (1 of 1)

I put the paper pulp into a screen and then sat it in about 3cm of water and spread it across the screen.

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Once it was evenly spread, I placed it on some newspaper and then proceeded to put a cloth over the top and gently ironed over it to remove the excess water.

Paper Making 5 (1 of 1)

I then placed it on the screen to dry overnight.  You will notice I added bits of leather scraps in the paper to add texture to it and I quite like it.

Paper Making 7 (1 of 1)

There are so many ideas of adding texture to paper and one I do want to try at some stage is lavender.  Scented paper sounds so lovely.  The paper dried quite quickly in the sunlight and it has been quite a good learning experience for me in the art of making paper.  My paper is a bit thick so probably belongs in the card family than the paper one!  However, it is perfect for making my postcard.

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A favourite recycling tutorial for me is using newspaper to create a basket. It is a simple project but such an effective and useful one.

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PaperWeaving9For the full tutorial of how to make this paper woven basket, please visit here.
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Another great way of recycling newspaper is making bird sculptures.

Paper Bird (1 of 1)

I didn’t have a tutorial for this project, it was just exploring how to shape the paper into the right form. That is the beauty of working with paper, it can be manipulated in so many ways to create many different shapes and forms.

Paper Bird2 (1 of 1)

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This is the final version of the paper bird. I added two layers on top of the paper, one was a linen layer and the top layer a mix of leathers.

Paper is many things, it is pretty, it is useful, it is part of everyday life and it can be used for so many creative projects even when the life of the paper seems to be at it’s end, it can be rejuvenated into a new project, a new use, a new life. Do you have any favourite recycling project that you would like to share, I would love to hear about it.

The PaperLove Blog Hop is a celebration of all things paper! Follow the links to discover more bloggers who love paper and use it to inspire and delight. And if you want to explore a whole world of paper, and stretch your paper passion further with a host of creative projects, why not join the innovative new online course PaperLove (starts March 31). Led by book artist Rachel Hazell, PaperLove is a five week creative adventure for paper lovers. Find out more here

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Participant list

Majo Bautista / Tona Bell Louise Best Cathy Bluteau / Jennifer Bomgardner / Giova Brusa / Lindsay Buck / Beka Buckley / Joanna Caskie / Jonathan Chapman (Mr Yen) / Halle Cisco / Sarah Clare / Cathryn Clarge / Dawn Clarkson / Rhiannon Connelly Jenny D’Fuego / Molly Dhiman / Ian Dudley / Ayisatu Emore / Akmal Farid / Monika Forsberg / Claire Fritz-Domeney / Louise Gale / Chrissy Gaskell / Julie Hamilton / Emma Hawman / Rachel Hazell / Holly Helgeson / Claudine Hellmuth / Kim Henkel / Sarah Hoffman / Joanne Hus / Paula Joerling / Beth Kempton / Julie Kirk / Eos Koch / Katie LaClair / Kristy Lankford / Michelle Manolov / Doreen Marts Rosie Martinez-Dekker / Tori Mears / Maria Mederios / Lise Meijer / Debbie Miller / MaryJane Mitchell / Suzy Naidoo / Grace Noel / Hannah Nunn / Camilla Olsson / Jo Packham / Rachelle Panagarry / Monette Pangan / Melanie Paul Nicole Piar / Jen Pitta / Liz Plummer Julie Reed / Michelle Reynolds / Lisa Rivas Angee Robertson / Natalie Ryan / Aisling Ryan / Elisabet Sapena / Kyrrha Sevco / Jamie Sprague / Elizabeth Steele / Terri Stephens / Juniper Stokes / Mary Tanana / Maike Thoma / Linda Tieu Gabrielle Treanor / Tammy Tutterow / Deborah Velasquez / Jordan Vinograd Kim / Cat Whipple / Brooke Witt / Katie Wood Amelia Woodbridge

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VW Camper Fabric Designs

I have been busy working on a personal project last week, designing fabric for the curtains on our lovely pink VW Campervan.  It is interesting how the design evolved over the week and it will be interesting to see designs printed up on the fat quarter samples.

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I knew I wanted to have some floral or nature inspired theme in the design, something that said summer camping and reflected the VW Camper in some way.

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The first thing I needed to think about was the colour palette and for this I used Adobe Kuler which is fantastic for getting colour palette’s for your projects.  I used these five colours as a baseline but did not necessarily stick to exactly these colours.

hibiscus textured-01The design above is the  beginnings of my design using the inside stitching on the door panels of the Campervan as inspiration.

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I did these sketches of Hibiscus flowers as they always remind me of summer.

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Hibiscus sketches into digital pattern repeat.

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I really like these Hibiscus repeated patterns but my husband wanted to have an element of the VW Campervan in the design so I played around with that idea.

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I sketched the VW Campervan using the mouse as I didn’t want it to be perfect and have that hand drawn quality.

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I like adding some of these designs to my Society6 shop to see how they would look on products and I quite like this t’shirt with my VW Campervan drawing on it.

trees in midnight blue cushion

I then went completely off track with my design and had a play with a photo I took last Autumn of some trees and I have to say, I quite like how this has turned out and might get some cushions made up from my Society6 Shop.

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leaf sketches

I decided to go back to the nature theme and do some leaf doodles and incorporate them into new designs.

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The rounded squares in this design reflect the VW Campervan windows and I also subtly incorporated the VW Camper sketch into this design.  I quite like the retro feel of this design.

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A couple more designs using the same colour palette and similar motifs.

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Through the Camper Windows

I really like how these designs look on cushions in my Society6 shop and I think it will either be one of these designs which I will use for the Campervan curtains.  What design is your favourite, I would love to hear your thoughts?

Tree Leaves Campervans

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I look forward to receiving the fabric samples to see which design works best for the interior of the campervan, and then I may have a crash course in curtain making if I am brave enough!

I have enjoyed the design process for this project and have a few more projects lined up over the next few months that I hope to share.  For this week, I will be working on my new website which I hope to have up and running very soon with a new look for the blog hopefully if I figure it all out!

 

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Cushion GiveAway – WINNER ANNOUNCED

First of all, I must say a big thank you to all that entered my Cushion giveaway, the three words to describe Love were fantastic.

My assistants helped to randomly pick a name from the hat this afternoon.

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As you can see my son took holding the hat as a very serious role!

Drum roll please……and the WINNER IS:

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Many congratulations to Elizabeth from Lili & Mums, I have sent you an email requesting postal address and will have the cushion out to you in no time.

Once again, I would like to thank all those that entered and put their three words down, I really appreciate it.  Love is
I thought the words were really special so had to put this together to showcase those words.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Sunday Sewing – Easy Girls Skirt

I haven’t done a Sunday sewing blog for such a long time, I thought it was time to do one but this time, my 8 year old daughter did the sewing with her new sewing machine!

We decided to make a very simple skirt with an elasticated waist for her first project.  I found this fantastic tutorial which I had pinned from my Sewing board on Pinterest.

Maddys Cloud Skirt2 (1 of 1)

My daughter chose the fun cloud fabric which I actually really like and think is very cute for a simple summer skirt. It is a nice cotton fabric which was easy for her to sew and sat nicely when completed.

Maddys Cloud Skirt (1 of 1)

I haven’t done a step by step tutorial for this skirt as the tutorial I have linked above is very thorough and also trying to supervise an eight year old with a sewing machine is no easy feat!

I am really proud of her achievement in making her first ever skirt and I think she has done a fantastic job. She now has big plans of future outfits, some that do sound a bit complex! Great to have ambition!

Before I forget, don’t forget to enter my cushion (pillow) giveaway, closes Friday 21st February 10 pm GMT, please check it out here.

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Spreading some Love – Cushion Giveaway!!

For a lot of people in the Northern Hemisphere, February is a month where it feels like there is no end to winter and it can be a bit miserable.  That’s why I want to spread some love and happiness with a little giveaway.

BubbleofLoveCushion

As it is Valentine’s Day today and I want to spread some love, I thought it appropriate to give away my lovely Bubble of Love cushion. It is an original design inspired by my five year old’s cute love sayings, ‘I love you so much I can’t talk’ and ‘The bubble of love in my heart is growing’ .

The giveaway is for the cushion cover only due to postage costs internationally, however, if you are local to me, I am happy to supply the insert.

All you have to do to enter is simply add a comment below with how you would describe love in three words! Entries close at 10 pm (GMT) on Friday 21st February.  The winner will be selected at random and notified by email on the Saturday 22nd February.

To get you started, here are my three words to describe love: Unconditional, Honest, Selfless.

Look forward to receiving your entries. Oh and Happy Valentines Day everyone!

 

 

 

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Bunny chow – A taste of Durban, South Africa

Now I have been with my South African husband for almost 17 years and have visited Durban, South Africa quite a few times in those years but for some reason I have never tried a Bunny chow which originates from Durban.

A Bunny chow is not what it sounds, it is not a dish made out of rabbit as I certainly would not be eating it (I don’t eat red meat).  It is a dish that originates from around the depression era where migrant workers used to buy this cheap curry like a take away.  There are many different stories about the origins of this dish, to find out more please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_chow.

In Durban this is really a street food, a curry made with mutton and potatoes and stuffed into half a loaf of white bread, served in a brown bag and eaten with your hands.

For my first experience of Bunny chow, it was a little more civilised and we had plates and a fork on stand by!

We got the recipe from BBC Food, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/bunny_chow_38916.

ingredients

Yes, as you can see there are quite a few ingredients for this recipe, however, that said, it has to be one of the best curry’s I have had for quite some time. It is full of spice and flavour, not creamy, quite a light curry which is good as I don’t like them to be too creamy. It was spicy but not so much in the hot spicy sense so I think if we were to do it again, we would increase the hot spices to give it a bit of punch!

Homemade Rolls

I made my own bread as I felt half a loaf of white bread seemed a bit excessive and we couldn’t find rolls the right size or shape. I ended up making 3 batches of rolls to get the right size so we certainly have enough bread rolls at the moment! The bread turned out perfect. I have to admit this was my little bit of cheating, I bought the bread packets in the supermarket, the ones that you just add water too! They are so simple to make and so tasty. I would recommend keeping a few packs in your pantry for that day when you realise you have no bread in the house and it is torrential rain outside!

Bunny Chow

Here is the Bunny chow, the chicken version. Although it looks a bit bland in this picture, the flavours are anything but bland. I would definitely recommend this recipe, it is a great one for a cold winters night and also great to make extra to put in the freezer for a rainy day!

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Pinterest Projects – My DIY Attempts!

I love Pinterest and could spend hours and hours pondering over the beautiful projects that have been pinned, it is a big time waster but a good one at that!  In the past year or so, I have done several DIY projects which I had found on Pinterest and duly pinned in my Crafts/DIY folder.  Most of these projects have been relatively successful, this newspaper basket being my most pinned DIY project.

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Therefore when my daughter decided she wanted an 80’s theme for her 8th Birthday, I went straight to Pinterest for some inspiration.

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I gathered up some inspirations on Pinterest on my party ideas board with 80’s theme/colours and started to form some ideas, and of course I had to get that giant blow up mobile!

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We needed a big sign for the party and of course we needed neon colours which the kids had great fun splattering on this sheet of card.  My husband finished off with spray painting the text on it.

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I decided to make my own piñata as they didn’t seem too hard to do and plus I could then fill it up with what I wanted to and it seemed like an inexpensive option too. ice cream pinata

This is the end result of the tutorial I was basing my one on, I was aiming for it to be like an ice cream however,

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I ran out of time so I just did the scoop part of the ice cream!

cake box

The next Pinterest DIY attempt was cake boxes, I really love this cake box and the tutorial is great as it comes with the free printable template.

cake boxes

I was quite happy with how my cake boxes turned out although I didn’t bother to make them too fancy, just not enough hours in the day and I am not sure it would really matter for 8 year olds!

cassette tape purse

I found a very cool tutorial where they used old cassette tapes and transformed it into a cute coin purse.  The tutorial seemed very straight forward and relatively easy.  However, for me, it did not turn out to be an easy tutorial at all!  I had several prototypes and realised that the total gluing method was not very neat and I was still picking glue from my fingers days later and yes, I did do a lot of hand washing!!

cassette tape spray painting

First I spray painted them all black so that you couldn’t see any glue and also so that it was a blank canvas for the children to be able to bling their purses up at the party.

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Here is the end result, this is one of my better ones! I ended up have to sew the zips on each individual rectangle of fabric and then gluing it into the cassette and then embroidering the two pieces together! What was meant to be a quick simple, glue the zip and fabric in to make the coin purse turned into a more complex project which I didn’t really enjoy!! However, the kids enjoyed sticking gems on them even though they really had no idea what a cassette tape was!!

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I pinned this cake from Pinterest, it was just an image, so no tutorial.  Our version was certainly not as neat as this but it you could tell it was meant to be a Pac Man cake.

pac man cake

The party was a great success, the kids had a lot of fun and I learnt something from this experience, you really don’t need to go to too much trouble as the kids just love eating sweets and dancing!!

Having said that, it was good to do some DIY projects and realise that not everything is as easy as it looks on paper!

I have my son’s birthday party in just over two weeks time and I have an entertainer coming to do science experiments with them. I will be keeping it much simpler and the only thing that we will do is a piñata cake which is not too complicated and usually a great hit with the kids, they love to smash things and if it’s chocolate, even better!!

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Chinese Paper Cutting Inspired Fabric Design

Well last week I wrote about the juices of creativity being clogged up somewhat and the frustration that I felt not being able to produce what I had envisaged. This week I am pleased to say, the creativity is flowing much better and I am feeling more positive and full of inspiration!

I am trying to enter more surface design competitions in order to build my portfolio and stretch my skills more. This week I have been working on a Chinese Paper Cutting inspired design for the Spoonflower competition.

Chinese Paper Cutting design 3

This is the first one I came up with which was based on a sketch I had drawn and then I drew it by mouse in Illustrator. I really like this design but to be a truly authentic paper cut, I needed to get rid of the floating areas, the ones that have no connectors and would not work if it was a real paper cut.

chinese paper cutting flowers Society6 t'shirt

It took me a little while to get this looking right and make sure all the red lines connected but the end result I am happy with and I feel it flows better than the first one.

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I have added this new design to my Society6 shop, I am loving the new product on offer at Society6, the wall clock.

Floral Love Wall Clock

I hope to get some fabric samples printed up in the next few weeks and look forward to seeing how it prints.

For now, I am still trying to finish that piñata, my daughters birthday is Sunday and I am also trying to make purses out of old cassette tapes for them to decorate and take home as a party favour.  The creativity juices are once again flowing nicely…..now I just need a few more hours in the day!

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Getting my creativity juices flowing

I am not sure if it is post holiday blues or the cold, dull, winter days but my creativity juices have become a little dried up lately and I do find it incredibly frustrating at times.  That said, I know I am not alone and believe this happens to everyone at some point and when it does, it is time to take a step back and has some fun and experiment.  Well that is my plan of action.

Yesterday was the most frustrating day, I had some great ideas for a new design for this week’s Spoonflower challenge, Great Barrier Reef.  Having pondered over old photos of when we visited the reef in 1998, I felt suitably inspired with many ideas to develop.

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However, when I transferred what was going on in my head onto the screen, they didn’t match, and I tumbled down the hill of despair and frustration until I reached a point at midnight where I felt the design was okay and submitted it. Although as I laid in bed trying to sleep, a sense of disappointment fell on me.

Underwater World-001

I have had some great suggestions from my lovely Facebook followers on how to improve this design, get rid of some the fish, make the corals and sea weed smaller and space it out a bit. I am open to any other suggestions, sometimes working alone can be hard as you need people to bounce ideas off especially when the creative juice is running low!

Sometimes when the creativity juices are not flowing, it is good to do something completely different, paint, sketch, visit an art gallery or museum are some ideas.  For me, I got flueroescent spray paint and experimented with it on small canvasses to test it out.

Spray Paint Experimenting2 (1 of 1)

The kids helped me with the stripped picture, they had great fun spraying paint everywhere and were quite disappointed that I put a blob of black paint on it as I wanted to mix it up a bit but they promptly sprayed over it! I think the amount of spraying on the striped canvas meant that it bleed through the masking tape and I got a bit of a blotchy stripe but strangely I quite like that effect, nothing’s perfect and I think this represents that thought!

I have a much larger canvas which I want to work on but need to plan it out a bit more as I want to write a message on it and spray paint is not a technique for tiny detail so it won’t be a big message!

For now, I am going to have fun and get my hands dirty in making a papier mâché piñata for my daughters birthday party next weekend.

I am hoping next week, I will have more creativity to show the juices are flowing in full force.

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A New Year – A new set of challenges – Hello 2014!

Hello 2014! Okay I have been away from this blog for too long, I blame it on a mixture of a great holiday and terrible jet lag!

Already we are halfway through January and I may be the only one who hasn’t made any resolutions for the year.  Is that a bad thing I wonder?  However, I have thought about the future and the direction I want to go in and for the first part of this year I will be predominantly working on three projects.

Hot Pink VW Camper

The first one being the conversion of this lovely hot pink camper. It is currently getting a new engine installed which should be completed by the end of this month and then she will be coming back to the workshop for the camper conversion which I will be undertaking with the help of some of the guys at my husbands business and a neighbouring cabinet making business. Originally, I wanted to outsource the camper conversion but there is a six month waiting list for such a thing and I am too impatient for that plus we want to try and get it almost completed by mid March in time for the Charity Ball which I am part of the organising team. One of the main Auction prizes is the use of the Pink Camper for a week, so we really need to get cracking on completing it. We have some great ideas to how we want it to look, now we just have to make them reality! I am currently designing the fabric for the curtains and soft furnishings, I am wanting to create a design which depicts camping and have been brainstorming words.
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This is what I have so far, do you have any other words that could be added, let me know.

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Another project I will be working on in the next couple of months is the Charity Ball which I am helping to organise with five other lovely ladies. The last one we did in April 2012 raisded £21,000, which was split between two charities, Walk the Walk Breast Cancer and Cancer Research UK. This year we are raising funds for Cancer Research UK, all monies raised will be going towards the research project into non-invasive cancer diagnostics led by Dr Rosenfeld at the Cancer Research Institute in Cambridge. We are hoping to raise £20,000 which is a big ask but this will help the research project so much and in future help many people to get a quicker and less invasive diagnosis. If any of my lovely blog followers/readers can help with any prizes, we would be ever so grateful. Without the generosity of individuals and businesses, we could not put on these events and raise much needed funds for research projects, we appreciate every little bit of help.

Design-Snapshots

The final project is one of self discovery and development. I will be undertaking several online courses to build my design portfolio up to make more cohesive and hopefully desirable collections for several mediums, fabrics, wallcoverings, ceramics etc.  I am looking forward to developing and growing as a designer and hopefully come up with some gorgeous collections!

In between camper conversions, charity ball organising, and designing, I shall be crafting and experimenting!

2014 is going to be a great year of discovery in both personal and professional measures.

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