Newsworthy

It’s a while since I created an Etsy Treasury, but I was thinking about newspapers and this one turned out to be very easy to compile!  There are all kinds of upcycled artwork and newsprint-inspired creations here – check it out and be drawn into the most creative headline news:

NEWSWORTHY

Image from Gift Wrap Set by IHavea LittleDream

newsworthy

The (temporary) return of TangleCrafts

Has it really been 3 months since I last posted?  Guess so!  Well, after a much appreciated summer break, my muse has returned with the autumn weather.  There are new items in both the TangleCrafts and E.T.Printworks Etsy Stores, including zine bundles, mini notecards, a return to TangleCrafts’ roots (sort of) with the WeaveWorld Mini Manual of Weaving (for Novice Weavers with Imperial Aspirations), and possibly my favourite addition which is currently only in the E.T.Printworks store, the Light of my Life Matchbox.

Why is this only a temporary return?  Well, guess what?  TangleCrafts is moving house, yet again!  (Hence the Random Craft Clearout which has appeared in the TangleStore.)  Not until the first months of the New Year, so I will be around until Christmas; but then there will be another hiatus for a couple of months while everything (and we have a lot of stuff!) gets packed, unpacked, and settled in again.  At least this time it will have been 2 years since the last move, and please join me in  hoping that this time we have found somewhere we can actually settle!

The next small thing!

We all know that often the best things come in small packages, so to celebrate the long-awaited launch of the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers, I have created an Etsy Treasury of all things Tiny!  There are some exceedingly cool (& tiny) things included (such as the wonderful miniature message embroideries from Of Little Consequence (right), so please take a look!

This month’s TangleClub freebie continues the Borrowers theme but moving away from miniatures and toward recycling,  with a set of printable envelope re-use labels & seals featuring the Borrowers Recycle! logo.  If you want to share the TangleClub freebie goodness, all you need to do is spend £5 or more in the TangleStore – Etsy, Folksy or Storenvy – and you will receive a free membership card plus password to access the TangleClub Archive of FREE projects & printables.

And on the subject of clubs, you are all hereby invited to join the Society for the Preservation of Borrowers!   Membership packets are now available from the TangleStores.  Each miniature manila envelope includes:

* a copy of the micro-zine Borrowed Time (you will need a magnifier to read this!)

* a membership card cut from discarded packaging

* and an upcycled pinback badge made using pages from a vintage copy of Mary Norton’s original ‘Borrowers’ book.  

The first 10 Membership Packets will be signed, numbered & dated.

Everyone knows that the Borrowers were the true pioneers of the upcycling movement, so SPoB is the ideal cause for crafters & literature lovers to support! 😉

TangleClub July Update

July’s TangleClub freebie has just been added – hop over to the TangleClub Archive for an exclusive-to-TangleClub-members printable Mail-Craft Mini-Zine!  I spent a lot of June playing with my lovely collection of Machin stamps (and making badges from them!) so this mini-zine was the natural progression.  It includes some very easy ideas for making your own, personalised stationery by using & upcycling your own collected postage stamps, plus some Etsy links for further inspiration.

 If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie goodness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend $10 or more in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

Diversion – organising my ideas

A couple of years ago, I realised that it would be necessary to keep a notebook about my person at all times, in order to jot down ideas when they come to me.  Being me, of course it is always on the days I have failed to throw a notebook in my bag that I need to make notes.  But that’s okay, because there are always scraps of paper to hand, and often whole sheets (which I can then fold down to mini-zine format).  Excellent.

I’ve never been a sketchbook person, because I don’t consider myself an artist, but of late, I’ve realised that sketching quick diagrams to accompany words is actually quite handy; and it really doesn’t matter if the sketches are not those of a talented fine artist.  If they convey the point I’m trying to put across, that’s good enough.  So now the multitudinous notebooks of my life have been joined by a smaller host of pocket sketchbooks (okay, notebooks with blank pages).

As I work at my laptop every morning, I always have my to-do list notebook by my side – which in addition to my long lists frequently finds itself home to numerous scribbled asides and diagrams because it is handier than either notebook, or sketchbook (which I could obviously go and fetch but simply don’t).

You can see from this haphazard summary that I am less than organised  when it comes to organising my ideas.  When it comes to getting a particular idea off the ground, I can always visualise in which notebook or on which scrap of paper I made my notes, but then I have to waste time remembering where I have currently stowed those particular pieces of paper, waste further time digging it/them out, then work surrounded by open notebook/s and/or scraps of paper, while I collate my notes for that particular idea.

So it occurred to me that what I need is a larger sketchbook (scrapbook?) in which I can pull together all the scrappy notes into something slightly more coherent.  Somewhere that I can literally cut and paste torn out pages from smaller notebooks or loose scraps or pictures I’ve found in a magazine.  Then add some extra notes, of course.

Okay, that makes sense: a larger sketchbook.  Not something I would carry around with me, I’m clear on that; because I’m lazy, and a pocket notebook is the largest extra weight I’m willing to carry on a regular basis.  It would be unwieldy, too, and not very practical to whip out for notes-on-the-go.  But how would pasting all my notes into one larger sketchbook work?  Because my ideas rarely come in a coherent flow, and are frequently jumbled up with ideas for different projects from day to day (or hour to hour).  If I pasted them all into one large sketchbook as the ideas came, it would be equally difficult to collate related thoughts when the time came – flipping backwards and forwards through the pages to find the relevant bits.  So, a series of sketchbooks, one for each different idea?  This could get complicated.  And expensive.

My next thought was a ring binder.  Just hole-punch the pages, add in plastic pockets to hold cuttings etc, and easily switch around the pages to re-organise thoughts, and keep notes for individual ideas together.  Problem is, I just don’t like ring binders.  Those rings always get in the way.  And everything looks scrappy very quickly unless you keep everything in those plastic pockets; but then everything is visible but inaccessible.  Hmm.

Bingo!  Well, maybe.  How about an index card system?  I’d only ever seen standard 3″ x 5″ index cards before, but I just noticed that my local office supply shop sells 8″ x 5″ index cards (and holder boxes) that would be perfect for organising ideas.  Cards are sturdier than paper, so would be less inclined to get scrappy (so quickly) and are easily shuffled back and forth, organised and re-organised according to whatever whim I am currently working on.  I’m liking this idea.  Hey, I’m liking this idea even better:

  • a shoebox
  • plus cut-up cereal box index cards
  • plus all those blank postcards I have in my stash that I have never found a use for as file cards (write/paste on the blank side, obviously)
  • equals cool handmade index card system!

Or, I could go the whole hog and just use an actual filing cabinet with a separate file for each idea.  Wow.  That sounds a bit scarily organised.  I think the shoebox is a bit more me…

Of course, realistically (because like I said above, I really am lazy), I would still never get around to actually filing my ideas until the point at which I wanted to turn the idea into something.  But I would have spent some happy hours preparing the filing system.  And I would have a better way of keeping the ideas organised while I was working on them.

And of course, the only reason I am thinking about this now is because I have forbidden myself from new projects until after the house-move so I am obviously twitchy to be doing something creative rather than practical.  Must distract self from distraction…

(Will update on Friends & Faux project soon – please accept my apologies for continued delay, I’ll get there shortly, I promise!)

Adopt an envelope!

Yes, you heard me right, adopt an envelope, if not 5 of them!  These are handmade envelopes made especially for you from magazine pages given a second chance in life, by a lovely girl in Hong Kong (“…trying to travel the world in the most inexpensive way – the internet and the mail with words from the bottom of my heart.”)

Click on the button above for full details. 🙂

Projects in progress…

Firstly, I’ve had quite a few updates on the Friends & Faux project over the last week or so, which I have thus far failed to update here on the blog.  Bear with me, I will be caught up soon! In the meantime, I just wanted to share a couple of projects I’ve recently been playing with…

A couple of weeks ago, I helped out a new friend (illustrator & comic artist Sally Jane Thompson) with a comic & bookmaking event.  The event was held as part of a local ‘celebration of drawing’ called the Big Draw, which sees events held across the city, with the aim to get as many people drawing as possible.
(If you have access to A4 paper, there’s a short booklet you can print to celebrate the celebration!)

Now, I am really not much of an artist, but in the spirit of the day, I decided to doodle some doodles, while I was helping out the kids – just to show that you really don’t need to be able to draw to actually draw something.  If you see what I mean!  I had pre-printed some mini-zine templates (which I have just added to the mini-zine freebie page – enjoy!) because I thought some people may find a completely blank page slightly daunting.  I personally definitely found it easier to start drawing when I had a manageable-sized space before me!  This is what I doodled on the day:

I started with the ‘flowers’ in the lower left corner, then worked my way around anti-clockwise.  I stumbled upon zentangling about a year ago, but despite being quite enthused about it at the time, I never really got into it.  I really enjoyed my afternoon of doodling, though, and am definitely going to finish off what I began.  This morning, I discovered a nice blog, the Open Seed, which has inspired me to try my hand at a couple of new patterns, and reminded me that I really need to get going with completing the above!

The other current work in progress I wanted to mention began in a supermarket.  No, really, it did!  I fell in love with a multipack of Dorset Cereals muesli boxes, and had to have them, despite not having a clue what to use them for, at the time.  I banned Corey from opening them, so that he didn’t ruin the boxes in the meantime, of course  (I’ve since emptied the mini packets out into a single ‘lucky dip’ muesli mix).  It was soon quite self-evident that what these boxes really wanted to be was notebooks, so after a quick glance through my craft library for ideas, I was ready to play:


I chose Japanese stab stitch for the binding, then proceeded to execute a very non-thorough job of researching!  As a result of my lack of planning: you can see that the stitching is very unevenly spaced, because I didn’t stop to think about measuring etc; I couldn’t have as many pages inside as I wanted, because I only had a pushpin to hand rather than a bookbinder’s awl; and I also didn’t leave a wide enough margin on the lined pages I printed off for the inside.  But overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I definitely plan to make some more – after a little spot of fine-tuning!  Lucky I like learning by trial and error (and lucky I like alliteration). 😉

Other things I like about this project: I like the ‘hemp leaf’ stitch pattern, which I thought complemented the leaf design of the cereal packet nicely; and I like the little pocket that I made on the inside front cover, by folding in some of the box flaps (I cut most of the flaps off).  I also love that there is a recipe for making lemonade on the back cover, although I can’t take any credit for that! 😉  Once I’ve played around with the idea a little more, I’ll probably write a tutorial; but if you want to experiment in the meantime, this is a good place to get started.