A Gift for my Fairy Godmother

I hadn’t planned on any further Postal Patchwork experiments just yet, Postal Patchwork greensbut I had a reason to sneak this one in between some other projects.  I’m about to disappear off to Ireland for a few days to visit my aunt, who is also my godmother (I call her my Fairy Godmother, although I’m not sure how much she appreciates that…) and wanted to take a small gift with me.  So I chose greens for the Emerald Isle (and also because I’m pretty sure she is fond of greens) and pieced together this little notebook for her.

This notebook is obviously not for sale; however, this particular patchwork design used halves of 18 different stamps (which means I have 18 matching halves remaining) and thus its inverse twin will probably become available not long after my return.  I’m also seeing that almost-tree shape as a potential future Christmas card design (perhaps contrasted against a splash of red)…

TangleClub October Update

We are currently in the midst of a beautiful Indian Summer here, so in keeping with the summer spirit, I am offering TangleClub members a slightly out-of-season Leftover Lavender cross stitch project, designed to use up the leftovers from your lavender harvest as well as your leftover off-cuts of embroidery threads.  This pattern is from a revised reprint of one of my first mini-zines, now available as a TangleClub exclusive e-zine.

In further TangleClub news, the very last TangleClub edition of the Mulberry Digest is currently going to print and will be sent out to TangleClub Deluxe members over the next 7 days or so.  TangleClub Deluxe is no longer available to new members (but existing members can continue to enjoy the benefits for the duration of their membership) but some alternative, new TangleClub membership options will be available in the near future, so watch out for updates!

 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 £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

Printing changes & clearance offer

Until now, I have printed, folded & bound all my zines at home, to order.  I love the process of handmaking, from start to finish, however, the more orders I receive, the less time becomes available to develop new ideas and work on new projects, and depending on outside circumstances, it is sometimes easy to become overwhelmed by demand & unable to keep up (not a bad problem to have, but something of a vicious circle!).  So I have been looking at ways to diminish my workload, and the most obvious solution was to relinquish control a little, and allow a printer to do some of the work for me.

I am very happy to have found a printer  that can provide recycled and FSC (sustainable) papers printed with vegetable-based inks, and has very high environment-friendly standards in all business concerns.  This was important to me, as I have always used recycled papers and really didn’t want to give that up.

So I have now done a couple of test print runs, and have decided that this is definitely the way forward for me.  The printing & folding will be done externally, but I will continue to bind & add in all the usual extra elements by hand.  I can’t afford to alter the process immediately for all of my zines, and I will continue to print from home, also; but one by one, over time, the changes will take effect.  And already I can see the difference it will make to the time I have available for project-work.  Yay for more time!

But it has been a bit of a learning curve.  The first print run did not go quite to plan when I cleverly selected the wrong paper option for the first batch of DIY French Knitting zines printed…  The paper used has a high quality shiny finish (but is still eco-friendly, as it is from a sustainable source) rather than the matt, more natural recycled look that I prefer.  It’s just a matter of aesthetics & the content is exactly the same as other versions of this zine you see elsewhere in my Etsy store, so if you’ve had your eye on this zine previously but not yet taken the plunge, now is the time to bag yourself a bargain!

Books grow on trees

In my last post, I mentioned how much I love books & reading.  It is one of my greatest pleasures.  But I do feel a measure of guilt, because as we all know, books are made from paper, which in turn comes from trees.  So my conscience was eased ever so slightly, when I stumbled across this great concept:
Eco Libris!  With Eco Libris’ plan, you can plant a tree for every book you read, and therefore help to replenish the world’s resources.  The more you read, the more you help!  Through the Eco Libris site you can make a payment to have any number of trees planted; and for every tree planted you will receive a “One tree planted for this book” sticker made of recycled paper to display on your book.

Another great site, if you are in the UK, is Green Metropolis.   The site allows you to recycle old books through their marketplace: there is a fixed price of £3.75 for every book; a donation is made to the Woodland Trust with every book bought/sold; the Woodland Trust in turn plants trees to replenish the woodlands.  Everybody wins!

Does anyone have any leftover lavender?

LL FrontThe reason I ask is, I’ve just added a new mini zine to my Etsy store that is absolutely packed with project suggestions for your leftovers.  The zine is printed on recycled paper embedded with real lavender flowers, and will show you how to make lavender sugar, tea, incense sticks, infused oils and more!  Cunningly concealed on the inside of the zine, you will also find a cross stitch embroidery pattern and instructions.  You just need to turn the zine inside-out to find it!  And if you don’t have the leftover threads in your stash to stitch the pattern, I have also put together a limited edition kit including 21 different shades of overdyed floss + fabric so you can get started straight away.  Check out listings for both zine and kit for more info.

LL kit[Update: June 10th] N.B. The first kit sold straight away, so I have just made up &  added a second.  There won’t be more than 5 kits made, so buy now if you want one!

Morsbags – how cool? (Guerilla eco-bag making!)

Working through my stack of Croq zine back issues (not quite finished, yet!) I found a great article about Morsbags.  This zine was published in 2007, but I checked it out, and the Morsbags site is still very much alive & kicking – & in fact, still growing.  I wanted to post about the concept because it’s such a fantastic idea – as DIY & eco-friendly as they come.

Here are the basics about Morsbags, but the Morsbags website is the best place to go for full info:

What are Morsbags?

They are easy-to-sew eco shoppers (named after their inventor, Morsman), made out of old curtains, sheets (etc).

Why are Morsbags?

The point of Morsbags is to raise awareness of how bad plastic carrier bags are for the environment, and to pro-actively encourage shoppers (etc) to start carrying an eco-friendly Morsbag (or similar) instead.

How are Morsbags?

How does it work?  Well, you can of course make & use as many Morsbags yourself as you like, but the point is to raise awareness and encourage/increase wider use.  So the idea is that you get together with friends, make Morsbags in bulk, then simply give them away to shoppers (definitively NO selling!).

When & Where are Morsbags?

Groups of people  who get together to make Morsbags call themselves pods.  There are pods all over the country, all over the world.  Check out the Morsbags website to see if there is a pod in your area, or set up your own!


The Morsbags website tells you everything you need to know, so check it out.  There’s a free PDF of instructions to follow, as well as leaflets, labels, stickers etc to promote the idea.

I have something of a fear of sewing machines, but the beauty of a Morsbag ‘pod’ (see above) is that you get together with friends and all take a part in the production process (so I could cut, or iron, instead) whilst having a nice afternoon/evening chatting about stuff.  I’m about to move house, but perhaps I’ll make my first crafty day at the new house a Morsbag party!  I have lots of crafty friends locally, so I’ll definitely be letting them all know about the Morsbags concept.  But the free PDFs on the website mean it would be easy to print off a stack of leaflets & instructions & just give them to people you know.  The more people who get involved with this idea, the better!