Christmas is sneaking up on us at an alarming rate… time to get your craft on! I designed this paper wreath a few years ago and decided it was time for an update with pastels and gold. The wreath is easy to make with materials you already have around the house or in your craft stash. Or you could buy something special – I found some beautiful Japanese paper in the exact colours I was after and I love the result. The garland is a snap with left over leaves.
To learn how to make a paper wreath, click on the “read more” link below.
These decorative hooks are easy to make with Polymer clay. Choose a colour pallet to suit your space or keep them neutral with a splash of neon brights. I’m using my hooks to hang jewellery and little bits and pieces and I made a teeny tiny basket from yesterday’s coil bowl tutorial to add extra interest.
Click on the ‘read more’ link below to read more and see the full instructions.
Add a pop of neon to your desk or shelf with these woven coil bowls. They’d also make a lovely handmade gift, perhaps a small bowl with a few rolls of washi tape inside? … it’s not long until Christmas!
Long strips of fabric – anything will work: I used knits, both cotton and acrylic. The pink neon was dirt cheap yardage in a bargain bin and the grey strips are Zpagetti yarn. You can use fabric scraps, old T shirts or thrifted sheets and tablecloths.
Cord – the neon orange is ‘Brickie’s Line’ from the hardware store ($5 for 100 metres) – or you can use more fabric or yarn like I did on the pink bowls. This is what you’ll need the most of. I used about 8 – 10 metres ( roughly 8.5 – 11 yards) for the grey bowl and it’s about 14cm (5.5 inches) wide x 8cm (3.5 inches) tall. The quantity in the photo below isn’t a true indication!
A large yarn needle with a big eye.
If you are cutting up fabric (T shirts, sheets, fabric yardage, etc) the thicker you cut it the chunkier and quicker your bowl will be. A good size for small bowls is roughly 3.5cm (1.5 inches) wide. The diagram below illustrates how to cut a piece of fabric into a continuous strip. When you’ve cut the fabric into stretch it in small sections at a time and the fabric will curl into a nice round tube of ‘yarn’.
The instructional photos are for the grey bowl with neon orange stitching, so I’ll refer to those colours from now on. Let’s begin…
Cut a length of orange cord as long as you can manage it without it getting tangled, and thread the needle with it. Mine was about 2 metres (just under 2 yards).
I used three pieces of grey fabric yarn together to get a good thickness. I cut it to roughly 1.4 metres (4.5 ft) long. If you are using one thickness of your yarn there is no need to cut it, it can remain on the ball/spool. The length of your yarn will depend on whether you want to change colours. It’s all fairly free form though – you can’t make mistakes!
Overlap the ends of the orange cord and the grey yarn. Wrap the cord around the yarn 4 or 5 times.
Fold the end of the grey yarn over to form a loop. Keep the hole in the center as small as you can – it should be just big enough to fit the needle through as it will get bigger as you stitch around the yarn. Wrap the cord around the base of the yarn loop, leaving a short tail sticking out, and tie a knot. (as in the left hand image below). Hold the yarn as shown with the short tail on top and the long piece of yarn on the bottom. Take the needle around to the back of the loop and pass it through the hole towards you (right hand image).
Don’t pull the cord tight – leave a loop at the top (as in the image below). Then pass the needle through the loop. Just like blanket stitch.
Repeat this stitch all the way around the loop. Needle into the hole from the back to the front. Leave a loop and insert the needle through it. Pull the stitch closed. The stitch needs to be firm but not tight. Keep your stitches close together and work your way around (as in the right hand image below).
Fold over the starting tail of the orange cord and the short tail of the grey yarn with the long grey yarn on top (left hand image below). Your next stitch will go through the top of your very first blanket stitch, instead of through the hole. Take the needle over to the back and bring it through the top of the first blanket stitch. Your next stitch will go through the top of the second blanket stitch. Scroll down to the next photo for a better look at where the needle passes through.
You’ve done a lot of stitches and will probably run out of cord soon. The photo below on the right shows how to add a new length of cord. Knot the two pieces together so the knot is on the outside of the coil.
Run the tails along the grey yarn and tuck them and the knot in as you continue to stitch (see image below left). As my coil grew I occasionally added an extra stitch when I thought they were getting too far apart. Remember not to pull the stitches too tight, or the base of the bowl won’t stay flat.
When you run out of yarn or want to change colours all you have to do is overlap the old and the new. As I was using three strands of yarn I cut each one a different length and inserted the new ones into the middle of them, so there wouldn’t be bulk all in one place.
As the fabric yarn tends to curl up I opened each piece up and inserted the new one into it. Then just continue on stitching.
When you’re happy with the size of the base you can start building up the sides. Make your stitches a little firmer while holding the yarn above the previous coil, instead of next to it. Continue like this until you have reached the desired height.
Finishing off. If you’re using more than one strand of yarn cut them at staggered lengths to lessen the bulk. Continue stitching around until you have just one strand left. Leave a tail of about 10 cm (4 inches) so you have enough to work with.
Weave the tail into one of the vertical stitches in the row below (on the inside of the bowl). Then weave in through a few more stitches in that row and cut the yarn off so the tail isn’t sticking out (image on the left below). To finish off the cord do one more stitch to complete the top edge of the bowl then tie a small knot and weave the cord down into the centre of the bowl. Cut the cord and tuck the end in.
And you’re done! I find this very addictive and I’ve made quite a few bowls and baskets of varying sizes now. It’s really quite easy once you get started. And it’s a great way to upcycle fabric.
If you’d like to link to this tutorial that would be lovely – I’m always happy and grateful for that and I’m all about sharing. But first please take a look at the FAQ page about using my content. Thanks!
Hi, you’re here! Welcome to my new look blog – I’m so happy that you found me here at the new address.
On Monday I’ll start the week with a fun craft tutorial, and to celebrate the new look blog at it’s new home I have a new craft project planned for every day next week. Over the next few weeks I’ll also be revisiting some of my existing tutorials and updating the Craft Tutorials gallery page. Of course, as always, I’ll also be sharing my finds and inspirations in interiors, art, design and whatever else catches my eye.
In the meantime take a look around and let me know what you think. All my old posts have been transferred here but… none of my comments since March 2011 have come over. Major sad face! It’s something to do with the Disqus comments system not syncing with Blogger, and as a result the comments won’t transfer. Fingers crossed Disqus and Blogger will sort that out sometime soon and the comments can be reinstated with the posts.
If you are a subscriber to the blog’s feed you should be automatically redirected to the new domain, but if you follow in the blogger dashboard, Google Reader, etc, you will need to update your feed with the new URL: theredthreadblog.com.
A huge thanks to Lindsay of Hello Monday Creative who has done an amazing job of taking my design and doing all the coding to make it work exactly how I envisaged it would. Two perfectionists working with a common goal!
Let me know what you think of the new design and layout… and also if you see anything that looks odd or isn’t working the way it should.
Do you like the animation I made? I had so much fun with it. Next week you’ll be able to download a printable template to make your own little house boxes.
Australians all, let us rejoice, for the marvellous Maggie Alderson is in town. She’s here to launch her latest book, Everything Changes But You, which is her seventh novel to date.
Like so many others, the ladies in my family are devoted Maggie fans, and I can recall many conversations over the past decade that have started with, ‘did you read Maggie Alderson on the weekend?’
So what’s so good about Maggie? For starters, she’s an absolute authority on fashion and style, and Maggie brings a wealth of experience, maturity, education and – most importantly – good humour to the topic. This is no small achievement, given that so much of what appears in our fashion mags is either pithy, uninformed commentary that takes itself too seriously, or lacks any sense of expertise or knowledge of fashion history.
Maggie also knows how to tell a good yarn, the kind of story that’s filled with familiar characters and local settings, such as the “high maintenance” women that populate Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs who “seemed to get their hair and nails done every day”, swim at Nielsen Park and live in “absolute waterfront” properties.
I remember reading Pants on Fire, a story about an English magazine editor living in Sydney’s Elizabeth Bay and working at the major publishing house in town at the same time that I was also living in Elizabeth Bay and a magazine editor at a very similar-sounding major publishing house in town. Apart from snorting at the Sydney in-jokes, fashion references and descriptions of local haunts, it was a compelling love story and utterly hilarious.
I also appreciate Maggie’s attention to detail, right down to her English decorator’s “droopy pastel-coloured Ghost skirts and cardigans” in Mad About the Boy (2002) which were “all spot-on in London” but seemed glaringly out of place in Sydney’s glitzy social circles. And I loved the sound of Antonia’s motley yellow jug collection, which she imagined “would make a wonderful group on a table, sitting on the old linen tablecloth, hand-embroidered with primroses, that I had found the day before in a charity shop in Bondi Junction.” Sounds pretty good to me.
I haven’t read her latest novel but it sounds right up my alley. Read the press blurb and you’ll now exactly what I mean:
Everything Changes But You tells the story of three women: Hannah, in her thirties, is happily married to Matt and living the cool life in London’s East End but struggling to reconcile motherhood and her glamorous job as a beauty editor. Her mother, Marguerite, patiently copes with an alcoholic, abusive husband and wonders if this is all her life has to offer. While Matt’s young cousin, Ali, is starting to feel lost looking for love in a strange city.
Things start to unravel when Hannah becomes certain they’d be much better off down in the English countryside with her family – and Matt’s mum needs them with her, back in Sydney, 17,000km away. All of them have unsettling secrets and while some are better shared, others might be best left unspoken. The problem is knowing which are which.
In this very modern story of three women’s search for a place to call home, Maggie Alderson, in her most sophisticated novel yet, crosses continents and generations to explore how we find happiness – and whether love can survive betrayal.
Can’t wait to get my un-manicured hands on it! If you want to catch Maggie on her Australian book tour, you can find her on these following dates:
Brisbane – Thursday 25 October, 6.15pm
Mary Ryan, 40 Park Road, Milton
Ticket $5, includes refreshments.
To book, please call 07 3510 5000
Melbourne – Tuesday 30 October, 7.00pm
Matilda’s Books, 15 Hamilton Place, Mount Waverley
Event is free, but bookings essential on 03 9888 1433
Melbourne – Wednesday 31 October, 6.30pm
Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
This event is free, but you must book on 03 9819 1917
Canberra – Thursday 1 November, 6.00pm
Paperchain, 34 Franklin Street, Manuka
This is a free event, but please book on 02 6295 6723
Bowral – Friday 2 November 10.30am
Bookshop at Bowral, at The Gibraltar Hotel, Cnr Centennial Rd & Boronia St, Bowral
$20 per person, includes morning tea. To book, call 02 4862 1634
As you may already suspect, we rather like having tea parties at our place. Here’s Harry showing his teddy how it’s done. I loved playing with my tea set when I was little, so there was no way that Harry was going to miss out. I picked up this little wooden set from Aldi, and it came complete with miniature wooden tea bags, wooden donuts and sliceable wooden tea cake. Swish!
Freelance writer Dan Jones has lived in London for years – and he’s got around: Shoreditch, Herne Hill, Hackney, Victoria Park, Stoke Newington and now Clapton. He’s written for i-D Magazine as shopping editor, ASOS.com as senior men’s ed, is media consultant to fashion brand Antipodium, and was Time Out London’s Shopping & Style editor for four years (where he was also my mentor and boss), covering everything from LFW to funeral parlours – so he’s acquired a big list of London’s best/weirdest bits.
You can follow Dan on his shiny new blog dedicated to London stores and style, JONESTOWN, and on Twitter @jonessecret. In the meantime, here is Dan’s Secret London. Enjoy!
Best shop in London for atmosphere? Mysteries
My mum is a bit of a witch. When I was a kid she’d take me to her favourite New Age shop, Mysteries, on our day trips into London. Being a young cynic, I’d roll my eyes at the dreamcatchers and chakra candles, but when I rediscovered the shop a few years ago, I finally saw how special it is – especially if you suspend all irony. Fancy an amethyst geode as big as your head? Done. Books on faeries and spells? Smudge sticks? Angel cards? Got it. In the market for a polished crystal that looks a bit like Gandalf’s dildo? You’ve come to the right place. Hidden at the back of the shop is a slightly slimy-looking grotto with a babbling water feature, encrusted with crystals and icons, and upstairs you can get your fortune told by Mysteries’ psychic staff and Tarot readers. Magic.
Best in London for vintage? Princess May Car Boot Sale
Just north of Dalston, opposite Beyond Retro’s huge Stoke Newington High Street store, is one of London’s best car boot sales. The mix of sellers is intriguing – from local trendies selling off their Topshop Unique cast-offs, to seasoned car booters (who tend to drive a hard bargain) selling knick knacks. It all makes for a great breadth of tat to pick through. On a hot summer’s weekend the sale is packed with browsers and sellers who cram themselves creatively into every corner of the grounds, selling from trestle tables and blankets.
Scoring a great car boot bargain is one of my greatest turn ons and Princess May rarely disappoints. On my last visit I picked up a Death Row Records cap, a Florida Gators sweatshirt, an old leather Camel cigarettes wallet – and possibly my best ever car boot find – a large ceramic bust of Arnold Schwartzenegger as The Terminator for £8. I didn’t even haggle. As I walked away from the stall the seller said, in a creepy Austrian accent, “you’ll be back.” No shit.
Best shop in London for gifts? Donlon Books
Navigating Broadway Market on a Saturday is sometimes a bit overwhelming – you might not always be in the mood for the crowds and gluten-free cakes, squeezing through the shoppers and poseurs, squinting so your eye isn’t poked out by a chocolate eclair. Donlon Books makes it all worth it.
At the north end of the market and usually manned by Conor Donlon, you can browse an excellent selection of art, fashion and culture books (new and old), and magazines, fanzines and cards. It’s great for gifts. I always find something that’s relevant to a friend’s dubious obsession, whether it’s a book on 1970s Australian drag artists or film ephemera from the collection of John Waters himself – Cry Baby tissues or a Serial Mom baseball cap.
Best shop in London for food? Lina Stores
It’s not much of a secret – Lina Stores has held its own in Soho’s red light district since the ‘30s – but the Italian deli just keeps getting better. The small shop had a bit of a makeover a couple of years back – and achieved the impossible: updating the place to feel thoroughly contemporary but preserving its traditional quirks.
You can have a quick snack or a coffee at the standing tables or buy up big from the impressive stock at the fresh counter (cheeses, charcuterie, etc) or the shelves (biscotti, Venchi treats). The homemade bits are best: pumpkin and sage or veal tortellini, pesto. The fresh pork and fennel sausages usually make the shelves in the early afternoon (amazing rolled up into meatballs at home).
Your number one London shopping secret? Casa Mexico
I discovered Casa Mexico last year – although I’d walked past it lots of times on my way to the Antipodium studio in Bethnal Green. A few earthenware pots at the entrance had always made me think the place was a ceramic store, something to do with tiles or garden furniture – a bit boring. Still, I decided to try it out one day and it’s good I did.
Inside it’s all Day of the Dead dolls, handwoven rugs, pinata and paper fiesta decorations, bottled sodas and beers, fresh tortilla – and those ceramic garden pots. The Casa team have opened a Mexican pastry counter next door that’ll be selling tacos come September. In the main store, check out the genuine Caballeros cowboy boots, shirts and hats and Lucha Libre wrestling masks, or pick up some religious candles (£4.50 for Jesus) and proper Mexican sweets. Steer clear of the hot salted tamarind candies though – the packaging’s great but they taste like death.
The London trend you’re loving right now?
Okay, it may not be the best news for the nervous eater, or those prone to bouts of heartburn or animal welfare, but this past summer in London was all about the grill. Dirty burgers, chunks of bone marrow, pulled pork, barbecued ribs… Alongside the stars of the BBQ scene – Meat Liquor, Meat Market and Pit Cue Co. – there are a few relative newcomers that are worth checking out: Burnt Enz at the Climpson Roastery (currently closed for winter) is less about classic BBQ sauces and more about using the grill to cook posh things like scallops, quail and more traditional stuff like lamb ribs with mint or beef brisket. Elliot’s Cafe at Borough Market collaborated with Raw – Borough’s wine fair – in the form of a pop-up burger stand selling aged beef patties with beer-braised onions, Comte and a brioche bun… it’s totally dirty – in a good way.
Californian artist SHAG (aka JoSH AGle) has always had a thing for beautiful birds – of the feathered variety, naturally – although come to think of it, there are very few of his works that haven’t portrayed some lovely lounging ladies of the bouffant hair and bikini variety, either. As a long-time fan of SHAG’s inimitable ’60s-style work (his glorious depiction of Sydney’s Rose Seidler House hangs above me as I type), I’m rather excited about his upcoming Australian exhibition and the book launch of Supersonic Swingers Revisited.
‘Original Owner’, SHAG.
For those unfamiliar with SHAG’s work, imagine a darkly glamorous ’60s world inhabited by women in wiggle dresses, cocktails in hand, batting their lashes at the sharply-dressed men reclining on the lounge. Long before Mad Men brought us the likes of Joan, Don and Betty, SHAG was creating anonymous but no less complicated characters in his colour-saturated, detail-rich, mid-century landscapes, and he’s attracted a cult global following.
‘Kookaburra’s Roost’, SHAG.
His upcoming Australian exhibition is hosted by the fabulous Outre Gallery in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and his devoted fans will be thrilled to learn that there are loads of new works for sale. You can also meet the man himself at the Saturday book signings in each city. Naturally, I’m sold on his new combined print/sculpture work, appropriately titled ‘Pecking Order’ (see top), which is a very low edition of only 100 world-wide, and is approximately $1350 for the sculpture set and framed print. For more information, contact Outre Gallery.
Don’t miss SHAG’S Australian exhibition, Outbound with the In-Crowd:
MELBOURNE: Outre Gallery 249 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 3-16 November 2012 Book Signing: Saturday 3 November from 12 noon (all welcome)
PERTH: Outre Gallery 260 William Street, Northbridge 10-23 November 2012 Book Signing: Saturday 10 November from 12 noon (all welcome)
SYDNEY: Outre Gallery
Shop 7, 285a Crown Street, Surry Hills 17-30 November 2012 Book Signing: Saturday 17 Nov from 12 noon (all welcome)
You may be over Facebook. Twitter is just 140 characters, and Pinterest is a bit of a solitary pursuit. But are you on Instagram? This social media platform is tailor-made for those of us who are more visual by nature – it’s about communicating with images instead of just words. Instagram is full of interesting, creative people sharing happy things. Interested to hear more, or in sharing your thoughts?
Perfect! Steph of Bondville and I have organised an Instagram-themed Sydney abcd meet-up! We’ll be meeting for a leisurely vintage inspired afternoon tea on Saturday 3rd November from 3 – 5pm in Lilyfield’s Callan Park. Bring along something sweet to share; tea and coffee will be available to purchase from Sweet Jane’s Travelling Teahouse (a gorgeous vintage caravan. Fun!) And, we’ll be joined by the Sydney Instagram Meet-up folks led by Jaclyn of Little Paper Trees and Jayde of Little Paper Lane.
There’ll be lots of interesting new people to meet from the Sydney Instagram group, and for those who are interested, we’ll dedicate about 40 minutes to small-group discussions. The aim is to share ideas and learn more about Instagram and how to use it as a personal and professional tool. Each group will be led by one of our friends from the Sydney Instagram group who’ll share their insights and expertise.
Are you in? RSVP in the comments section of this post to join us. We’re not doing goodie bags this time, instead we’d appreciate you bringing a plate of something homemade to share for afternoon tea.
We would also love for you to provide us with some feedback on Sydney abcd meet-ups in our online survey. If you weren’t able to fill the survey out at our last meet-up, please click here to share your thoughts on how we can make abcd work best for you.
Steph and I have had fun organising this one and we hope to see you there – it’s going to be a lovely afternoon.
3 – 5pm
Saturday 3rd November 2012
Inside Gate A, Callan Park, Balmain Road (intersection of Cecily Street), Lilyfield Map here
Parking/Transport: There is limited street parking available on Balmain Rd and the surrounding streets, as well as the Sydney College of the Arts carpark. We encourage you to use public transport (see details here on Uni of Sydney website) – there are buses that run down Balmain Rd and the Light Rail stops at Lilyfield which is 1.5km walk. Or car pooling is good too!
Edit: Since moving to the new domain name comments have been left behind. You can still RSVP here, or on the old post. Pop over to the old post to see who’s coming!