How to grow a landscape…

I’ve not done this for a while so thought I would share the journey of my latest postage stamp collage…

24 blue green whimsy 1a cropIt began with a blank notebook, and 2 stamps which serendipitously turned up while I was sorting through a large batch of old stamps. Continue reading How to grow a landscape…


Faux Postage Trials, Part 4

The lovely Britta (of JaguarSnail) has found yet another potential faux postage perforation solution for us to try and I, for one, am sold!

While rummaging in a junk/antique shop recently Britta came across a pair of rusty, slightly odd-looking scissors with teeth on one side, where the blade would normally be.  When she asked what they were for, she was told they were thinning shears, used in hairdressing.  Who knew?!  (Not us, but probably many other people in the world…)  Anyway, I tried out Britta’s shears and they did indeed make neat-if-square-ish perforations which tore off nicely, so I immediately ordered a cheap pair of (new!) thinning shears to try for myself.

New TangleStamp perforations
New TangleStamp perforations

Mine arrived this morning, and when I tested them out, not only did they make a lovely perforated edge to my new artistamps, but they separated them in the same swift movement, without any need for tearing!  (I’m assuming Britta’s shears only pierced holes because they had been dulled slightly with with age and use.)

I’ve just made a new series of artistamps, printed on self-adhesive label paper, using my most recent postage stamp collages as background images.  Here I’ve done a comparison test, first using a serrated pattern tracing wheel to tear off a stamp, and second using the thinning shears (not shown to scale!).

Faux postage perforation comparison
Faux postage perforation comparison

The auto-separation of the paper after using the shears means that rather than pre-perforating a whole sheet of stamps to tear off as needed, I will be cutting off one stamp at a time, but I like the clean edging so much, I’m pretty sure I can live with that compromise!

I designed the sheet of artistamps from notebook covers collaged in July.  This is my first notebook collage of August in a combination of some of my favourite colours: an imaginary landscape which only narrowly missed the window of joining the artistamps above!  Check out the TangleStore listing for more details.

The latest imaginary landscape
The latest imaginary landscape

For more info about faux postage/artistamps, please see my Faux Postage Q & A page, plus all of these previous posts!

Handwoven faux postage #2

handwoven letter postcard by Su MwambaIn a recent post, I claimed that the stamp woven in the corner of this ‘letter’ was my first handwoven faux postage.  Who knew?  Turns out I was wrong…!  I just re-discovered an old post of mine from 2010 in which I wove a postage stamp on a tiny matchbox loom!

I had completely forgotten about this, but really need to try it again – it would totally be possible to embroider a little detail onto the surface of this tiny weaving…  

Matchbox weaving loom

Ironically, this miniature weaving probably took as long to complete as the handwoven postcards I have talked about recently, due to the fine embroidery threads used instead of bulkier knitting wools.  It would be possible to weave a quicker stamp using a bulkier yarn or thread, though – it would just afford less opportunity for adding finer detail.

See the original post for further details.

Project Dissimulation Update

When my mum came to visit last week, she brought with her a sheet of Chinese ‘lovebird’ stamps cut from a bubble envelope, which they had clearly very nearly covered.

lovebird stamps

She had found them when sorting through some of my dad’s effects, and was happy to donate them to Project Dissimulation – it seemed about as fitting as could be!

lovebird badgesToday, I discovered they were perfectly sized for upcycling as badges, so that was indeed their destiny.  I feel like I have made hundreds of badges for the Project so far (although it is possibly not quite so many), but these particular ones definitely hold a special kind of piquancy for me, and I will definitely be keeping one for myself, as well as sending one each home for my mum & sister.

If you would love a lovebird, too, you know where to find them…  (As always, all proceeds will be donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.)

Postage stamps for charity

Project Dissimulation bird badgesEarlier this year, a lot of kind people helped me out when I made a plea for used postage stamps featuring birds for Project Dissimulation (in aid of bowel cancer awareness, following my dad’s diagnosis).  Well, it suddenly occurred to me that it was time to pay this thought forward.

I have accumulated far more stamps than I will ever be able to use over the last few years.  I’ve shared some recently with Britta/JaguarSnail (see below) and I am going to send a big batch off to the RNIB mixed international(Royal National Institute of Blind People) next week.  I’ve chosen this charity because it is based in Benfleet, where most of my dad’s family lives.  While I was growing up, we always saved our stamps (I had lots of penpals when I was at school, so this was an area I felt I could help!) and gave them to my great aunt Rene when we visited in the holidays – she passed away several years ago, but I know she would appreciate my carrying on the tradition.

Britta (/JaguarSnail) does amazing things as a volunteer for the Air Ambulance Service – her job is to creatively re-craft plain items that have been donated for sale, so that they can be sold at a higher value and raise a greater amount of money.  She does lots of postage stamp collages which appeal to me for obvious reasons…!

Stamp Collages by JaguarSnail

There are so many great causes out there that need our support, though, so here is a non-comprehensive list of UK charities that are currently appealing for used stamps – please help them out, if you can!  (If you know of any other charities collecting donations of used stamps, whether UK or overseas, please feel free to add the link in a comment.)

Project Dissimulation – first creations

Project Dissimulation Vol. i preview

As April is bowel cancer awareness month, I was keen to get the first issue of the Project Dissimulation zine completed in time for April – so keen that I managed to be finished early!  When I first put out a call for donations of bird-themed used postage stamps and artistamps, I didn’t really have a clear idea of what exactly I would do with them, although the title chosen for the project obviously lent itself to working with collective nouns (a dissimulation of birds being the traditional collective noun for a group of birds).  Once I sat down to get started, though, the idea shaped itself and the first zine was quickly born, as well as a series of badges.

Please click through to the TangleStore to support Project Dissimulation with a purchase – any profits from Project items sold will be donated to a bowel cancer research/awareness charity.

So far I have completed Volume I of the zine, a matching Project Dissimulation badge (I will create a new badge design for each issue, so they can be collected!), and bird badges made from upcycled postage stamps for anyone who would like a completely individual souvenir of the Project:

The first issue of the Project zine features a variety of collective nouns for birds, illustrated with selected used postage stamps which were donated to the Project.  I’m not sure yet how many zines there will be in total, but I will keep going as long as there are stamps to work with. 🙂  In addition to the current items available, there will soon be a one-off chance to buy a set of badges made from the actual stamps used to illustrate Volume I, as well as bird badges grouped by species.  As the Project progresses, I’m also planning envelope seals, address labels, postcards and mini-notecards – watch this space for updates & availability!

Project Dissimulation Store

Project Dissimulation Badges Vol. i

If there are any bloggers out there reading this who would be willing to help spread the word with a mention of the Project (please feel free to ‘borrow’ any of the pics used in this post), I would really appreciate your help, too – the more people we can reach, the bigger difference we can make. 🙂


Project Dissimulation logoJust a reminder that I still have an open call for bird-themed used stamps (& artistamps) for Project Dissimulation.  I’ve received some beautiful stamps already, and am really looking forward to craftifying them!  The first Project zine will be issued in April, to coincide with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (in the UK; not sure if this is international or not), but I will be continuing to collect stamps & artistamps for the project & will release further mini-zines as material is collected.  Follow the link for full details of the Project & how you can help.

Postal Ephemera PackIf you’re fond of postage stamps but don’t have any bird stamps for the Project, don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you!  I’ve also recently decided to clear out some of my excess hoard of used Machin stamps – can I tempt you?  I’ve put together some colour themed packs in the TangleStore so that you can creatively upcycle them however you Machin Gift Setchoose, because with the best will in the world, I will never have enough time to use them all myself!  I’ve also put together a couple of packs with a stamp-upcycling mini-zine for inspiration.  This mini-zine was written in 2011 but hasn’t been available for sale before & will only be available now while my stocks of these used stamps remain.  See listings for more pics & info.