Things [ Hand Made ]


My chance to wonder about hand made things and tell the world about those I make, love and cherish!

Thursday 13 August 2015

work avoidance

I am supposed to be working.
Why is it that you find the most interesting things when you are supposed to be working?

and this one I cant seem to embed of Andrew Graham Dixon discussing the amazing amulet collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Friday 10 July 2015

Making a medieval costume

I love this book. I was given it by an inspiring teacher when I was 15. One of those teachers that opens up the world for you, gives you a sense of what is possible rather than what is not.

It has always been my go to book for a quick guide to costumes of dress. I have a never read it, just always flicked through it and loved the illustrations. Copied it endlessly and love the character in the drawing.

This weekend is the town is taken over by a huge medieval festival. It's great to walk into the supermarket and see a knight in full armour downing a can of coke. This year there is to be a big parade of local children, groups and families. I have been involved helping a group making jesters costumes and a large group bringing papier mache food for the king.
My role in the parade is to help a group to carry a large papier mache dragon so I need medieval dress as well.
This headress looks a little less biblical
This mornings job was to make my own costume ready for the parade.
Maybe I should wear it for the school run this afternoon?
This is a pile of tabbards ready for others in the group.
I will not rest till everyone is dressed in old curtains!


Monday 27 April 2015


I had a new brooch for my birthday

and a new jigsaw
and some new paints


Now I have a Doggem.

MuttLy type laugh in the background.


Monday 16 February 2015

Making a rag rug.

I have made a new rug for the back door. Every so often life gets such that I need a craft that doesn't require much thought.

It got a bit like that in January so out comes a piece of hessian and my favourite hook. We always have old t shirts around the house that no one quite wants or needs so it's easy to source the colour to fill the spaces I draw on the hessian.

I measured out the hessian against the spot by the back door, drew a simple design made up of geometric shapes and pin wheels, loosely based on some lovely thing I had seen at the Kaffe Fasset exhibition in Bath.


Slowly it grows, with colours chosen entirely by what is in the rag rug, no planning, very little thought, just trying to put pattern next to plain.
After all, it's just a back door mat, it will be filthy with the mud it's meant to catch.
Of course I could just go done to a shop and buy a new back door mat for very little, it's just a mat for the back door but it feels better to make my own, almost comforting and I will smile at the colours and the shapes whenever it catches my eye.
This tradition comes from needing to make something, to avoid expense. It recalls those hardworking families that had little and had to make the most of it.
I am not driven by cost issues but I am driven to make for its own enjoyment, the desire to make something that has cost me nothing but time.
It's hard to express.
But just at the moment my little rug expresses it perfectly.


Monday 26 January 2015

A sampler for 2015

A new year and chance to finish of all of last years projects!
One of the one I wanted to do was a sampler.
In France last year I saw the lovely subtle colours that they use and I bought some ribbons and braids to make my own version.
It's not that I don't make things it's just that it's takes a long time to get it started. I have ideas pouring through my head everyday.
Once i start I soon work through it.
It's a bit of a metaphor for this blog really.
When I first started writing in this space I needed to define myself as a creative person. I was home with children, with friends who didn't quite understand how important creativity was to me.
Partly because I didn't show it, I didn't share it.
Writing a blog was just taking it one day at a time. Allowing myself to grow into my role that I wanted. One where I was known for my creativity, where I believe in my own creativity.
It gave me courage when people responded with comments and emails. It gave me courage to try out new things. It gave me opportunities and reasons to try new things.
I had chance to try writing about craft but I am not really a writer.
I had chance to exhibit my work at a national exhibition and I found myself expliaining how to make similar work
I had chance to write patterns but missed the contact with other creative people.
I wrote a book with a friend and enjoyed the process of creating instructions
I made and sold items but found myself wondering why people would buy for me and not just make something themselves.
I realised that it was all trying to tell me something.
Now I teach a wide variety of people all sorts of arts and crafts and I love it.
I meet so many people and enjoy the inspiration I get from them, the ideas and the friendship.
It gives me time to make my own things without the pressure of declines and origianl ideas.
.....and oh boy, my creativity is greater than ever!
It all started with this blog, a toe in the water but now I swim in it daily I don't need this space, this training ground.
That's not to say I won't be posting here but it's just to say thanks, for reading, for responding for holding my hand through the last few years.

The finished picture.

P.S just to say this isn't a good aye to this space but it's just exhaling to the last few people why it's a lot quiet around these parts.

I am still just as creative, I just don't need to say it in the same way.

P.P.S I don't do the Facebook thing but I often snap away for Instagram as Thingshandmade

Come and say hello and see what I am up to!

Wednesday 3 December 2014

A Christmas wreath or 3

2 poorly children and a beautiful sunny day.
Not really poorly just full of colds and needed a restful day.
Once the frost had cleared we went for walk with a pair of secateurs
We breathed in the air, looked at the blue sky and just allowed ourselves to be.
Finding ivy and berries we twisted wreaths and bought them home.
One for the door, one for the table and one by the fireplace.

We all feel a lot better now.

I wouldn't have let myself do that on my own, I would have found other things that needed doing.......and it was nicer doing it with other people.

Only thing to do now is settle down to watch Arthur Christmas! I have an excuse, 2 poorly children aged 8 and 10. It seems a fine plan.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Weaving the river


A meeting I was supposed to be attending today has been cancelled and I am using the time to finish a piece of weaving I started last week. It's only on a small scale but it reflects the river that runs through the town where we live.

Like many people I adore the sea. It was instilled in my by grandparents who lived on a beautiful stretch of Yorkshire coastline. It's one of the few places I have connection to. A deep grounded connection. I don't have it to the places I grew up in. The place where my grandparents lived was a constant in my childhood and still calls me back.

We now live in land and often I yearn to see the sea. Like many people do. We don't live close to the sea and the closest coast line is uninspiring and very developed. A proper trip to the sea is an hour and half away. Doable but only with planning and preparation.

We do live with a river. We don't live by a river, we don't live near a river, we live with a river. It's a living thing that ebbs and flows with the seasons. Notably flooding the town and regularly interrupting our lives with footpaths and roads closed. We live in a town that accepts the river as a character within the town and we watch and try to predict it's ways.

As a family we have walked different stretches around the town. It has crept into me in the way it creeps higher into the town as the waters rise. I now watch the river, feel the river, crave the open space it provides, the bank on the other side. I plan to walk it's whole length one day. From source to sea.

The threads picked up from an exhibition by Sarah Beadsmore flowed through my fingers and grew slowly like a river rising.

It's almost finished, it's not that I never finish anything, I just find it hard to show you finished things. I guess that's another post altogether!