Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tried and Tested Tip Number 20 [Wish Stars]

I remember being taught how to make wish stars many years ago, and they are so easy to make and fun to have around! They look great sat in jars, sprinkled on tables, or sprinkled inside gift wrap when wrapping presents. You can add messages to your paper before folding, and try different colours and textures of paper.

To start? Gather strips of paper. Mine are approx 1cm wide and 29.7cm high (i.e. the height of A4).

Take one strip, and fold the top down at an angle, like so:

Then fold the short piece back behind the strip at an angle. On the left here you can see the fold, and on the right what it looks like from behind. If there is any excess sticking out you can either trim it like I have or fold it over.

Fold your long strip back behind and up, and you have a pentagon (left)! You really want to make sure these edges are even, so your star has that perfect shape. Bring the strip back over the top, and follow the shape round so that you are wrapping the strip across each side in turn - this should happen quite naturally.

Keep folding your strip until you run out of paper. You do not need to make defined creases when you fold, and don't do it too tightly. You want it to be able to puff up into a star later. Tuck the end (you may need to trim it slightly!) into the star, under previous layers, and you have a rather neat looking pentagon! Here you can see the importance of making your first few folds at the correct angles, so your pentagon is even.

Now simply use your thumb nail and make a dent in the middle of each edge, which will form 5 little points - your wish star!

And now your can make millions of wish stars! Sparkly :)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Younger Years IX

[felt snowman finger puppet, I should probably clarify the brown is a broom!]

I think Christmas has to start early when you're creative. I remember as a child I would start making my Christmas cards in August, giving myself time to hand draw and colour in cards for every member of my family (no mean feat, let me tell you!) Even nowadays I try to think about it early to give myself time to work out my design, materials, and to allow for my fluctuating health. I have planned the decorations I hope to make this year, and as such I find it really interesting to look back on what I was making as a child. One thing never changes - my love of felt! It is so easy to work with, doesn't fray, and can be glued or stitched. I love hand stitching, mixed media... I love creating, and I love it even more when I don't have to follow any rules! Making Christmas decorations for my family? Such beautiful creative freedom, hopefully making decorations we can treasure for many years to come. And yes, I do still have almost everything I made as a child, even if they don't quite all make it out of the box nowadays!

What about you? Are there decorations you made many years ago that still come out at Christmas? Or nowadays is it all about your own children's creations? I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Rather than something specific, I thought I'd share some arty/inspiration snaps that have landed in my camera this week!

The man above you may recognise from Antony Gormley's Another Place - this one however had been both yarn bombed and make up bombed! I was taking a few measurements from him too, I'm thinking of a concept I want to do next year... Ooh!

And here? A selection of elements from my art table this week... I'll show you why soon, but let's just say I've been working through my Christmas decorations to do list!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Linoprint Poppy Cards

I know, you're probably sick of seeing my poppy print by now, and I'm afraid I have even more ideas to try!

I really love these cards though, and it was fun to experiment printing with it in different colours!

[Inked up on the Vandercook! We tried printing it on blue and yellow papers after seeing this, which was rather pretty too!]

We did have a few issues, especially when some dirt slightly damaged the lino, but it all worked out ok in the end :)

I'm thinking a limited edition triptych print next... Watch this space!!

Further printing.

Inspire: Pebels' Stunning Rabbit Photos

As I'm sure you know, I have two gorgeous rabbits, Toffee and Flopsy. I could give you a million reasons why I find it difficult to take portrait photos of the two of them together, but let's just accept that as soon as I'm well enough it needs to be practised... If there is one photographer out there who inspires me to make an effort, it's Pebels on deviantArt. Just take a look at some of her stunning photography of her beautiful rabbits, aww, and then go check out more of her work!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Christmas Cards

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend some more time with my Dad in his printing workshop! We worked on a couple of projects together, including some Christmas cards!

This design was actually inspired by another artist who he had been working with a few weeks earlier. She had been printing without ink, to leave just the impression, and on dark textured card it looked really stunning. My Dad had also experimented printing with varnish, and on the paler card I was using this really brought the lettering out.

I was torn between the typefaces Koch and Locarno, I think I decided on the former, although they are very similar! Simply embossed with varnish on a Vandercook proofing press, on to some beautiful handmade paper. I have then mounted this on a textured cream card, textured matte gold paper and a simple white card.

I find it fascinating that when my Dad worked in letterpress, it was important to produce a clean print with minimum impression, almost so it did not look printed... Nowadays letterpress feels all about adding texture and pushing the paper for a deeper impression, and I think I know why. Computers, laser printers and inkjet printers can churn out perfect image after perfect image - we need the hands on traditional techniques to produce items with character, charm, and an innate uniqueness.

I've also just added a new category over on the right filled with everything printing and letterpress: lino cuts, lino printing, typesetting etc!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Christmassy Invites [and some news]

These were a quick little project, ready to be used to invite family round to our house next month.

I love sparkles, and I do hope we get some snow this Christmas!

In terms of news, I just want to apologise that there is no Tried & Tested this week, my physical and mental health is playing up... I'll try and get back to normal posting soon!

I'm also having a few email issues, so leave a comment here if you need me :)

Ooh, and you can now access my blog directly through!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Younger Years VIII

I think my four year old self has said it all!

It does remind me of the quote which hung above the entrance to the art rooms at my secondary school, though.

"In art there are no mistakes, only possibilities."

I think it is one of the phrases I think of most when I am creating, it is so true. No matter what happens when you are creating, never see something as a mistake. When something happens which isn't what you intended, roll with it and work with it - it might just help you create something even more amazing.

What's your favourite creative quote?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

R2D2 Christmas Stocking

I am *so* excited about this project! It is an R2-D2 inspired Christmas stocking for my Star Wars obsessed husband! I am even more excited since I won't show my husband until Christmas Day [i.e. shush if you know him!] and I need to share somewhere!

We love starting new family traditions, such as special Christmas dinners, having a real Christmas tree and when we open presents... And this is our latest: personalised stockings!

I created the main body by tracing round an existing stocking, and creating the front from white fleece, and the back from blue felt.

All the detailing is cut from felt (brilliant because it's quick and easy and doesn't fray) and machine stitched on. Whilst it is not a carbon copy of R2-D2, noone can say it is not inspired by him! I simply referenced images with the fabric in front of me, and eye balled sizes and positions. The only template I made was for those difficult shaped blue pieces in the middle!

I love the finished stocking. It's got a really nice quality feel to it, and I know it will last. It's big enough to fit decent sized items, but not so big it will never be filled! It feels quirky with the shapes and stitching not being perfectly straight, but I love the feel it gives. Love it!

Have you seen my other Star Wars projects?
Star Wars Snowflakes

Why not have a look at the other crafts in my Christmas category...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


"Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot."

As a child, bonfire night involved the family gathering at my grandparents house, and walking down to the local park for the fireworks display and a massive bonfire.

Being held in the strong arms and warm coats of my Dad and Grandad as we huddled round the bonfire and watched the bright colours in the sky.

Returning to their house for treacle toffee, and then home for sparklers.

Now my sister's family lives in my grandparents old house, but we still pile round.

For food and fireworks.

Different generations of the family - different grandparents, different children. But still so lovely.

"Remember, remember, the fifth of November; bonfire, fireworks and flame."

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Christmas Pud and Dolly Mixture Ice Creams!

[BBC Good Food's Ultimate Vanilla Ice Cream with chunks of Christmas pudding! Absolutely gorgeous, but the flavour is quite strong, so make sure you like Christmas pudding!]

My husband bought me an ice cream maker over the summer - yay! So far we've had strawberry ice cream, raspberry ice cream, and these two gorgeous ice creams!

[Heston Blumenthal's Dolly Mixture Ice Cream. A slightly odd flavour, but definitely dolly mixtures!] 

And you know you're becoming ice cream obsessed when Heston appears in a dream and compliments you on it... Haha!

Have you ever made any exciting ice cream flavours? Any you would recommend?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Inspire: The Phobias of Creatives

Infographic by Column Five Media and The Creative Finder, found via Design Fetish

Something a bit different this time... But it is always inspiring to find a visually appealing, and graphically well done infographic, especially when they are also so relevant, true, and interesting!

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