Jubilee Family Fun

Busy busy busy, I’m organising a free creative event for children to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday 2nd June in Wymondham, Norfolk.

Made the posters, drawn a stamp outline complete with the Queens head for colouring in, and now I’m sitting here at 1 in the morning making paper crowns, It’s mad that I find this fun, or should that be I’m mad?

I hope that what ever you’re up to you enjoy the extra long weekend.


The Mad Hatter Costume

Here it is, the Mad Hatter Costume and this time it is my daughter not Johnny Depp.

I’m not sure just what this says about me, but I pulled most of the mad hatter costume out of my wardrobe.

I had already dyed an old, gold, frock coat charcoal grey, it was waiting for me to restitch the button holes as the dye had not taken on the thread, but for this costume it seamed in keeping so I left them gold. I added some lace fabric I had to the sleeve ends.

I had a pink cotton shirt and the black waistcoat which was just a little large so I stitched two pieces of black ribbon on either side of the back of the waistcoat so they could be pulled together and tied in a bow to make it a little tighter.

The brown trousers were tucked into knee high stripy socks (the socks were my daughters) which made them flair out nicely.

I raided my ribbon box and stitched 7 or 8 pieces into the left hand pocket of the coat and I replaced the laces in my daughters walking boots with orange ribbon.

All in all not a bad starting point.

I had to buy some fabric for the pink scarf around the hat and the handkerchief in the pocket. I chose Caress taffeta lining fabric in Salmon and Doll pink. I hemmed a square of the salmon and stitched it into the right hand coat pocket.

For the bow tie I found some Liquorice Allsorts patterned cotton fabric on eBay which is pretty close to the original. I think the original looks like smudged allsorts on black silk. I really like this cotton, it’s fun, just not as abstract, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, so I was happy with that.

My daughter and I made the Bandoleer and matching earrings which I posted a week or so ago, so have a look at them, I was very pleased with how they turned out.

We did buy a orange wig from a great fancy dress shop in Norwich Top Hat Fancy Dress and then there was the hat. Oh, the hat.

I think the hat deserves a post of it’s own, so watch this space.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it.


That’s my kind of spontaneous city

Walking through Eaton park in Norwich this weekend, on the way to get a well deserved ice-cream, I was delighted to rediscover the Spontaneous City

It’s one of the pop up artworks that seem to appear randomly, in and around Norwich each year, as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

These were built by London Field Works in 2011 and have mellowed beautifully, becoming a part of nature.

I love unanticipated artwork. Pieces that you can come across completely out of the blue, that are not jarring, but add to your enjoyment of a place.

I hope something unexpected brings you joy too.


Does that bandoleer come with matching earrings?

My eldest and I have finished her fancy dress costume for leavers day. LEAVERS DAY !!!

Yes, she is about to leave school and I’ll have a panic attack if I think about it too much, so… on with the costume.

Bandoleer, how great is a costume that needs a bandoleer…

Answer, this great! Yes, that’s Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter not my daughter.

Now this is a lot of costume, so we started small.

The main ingredients for the bandoleer were;

  • Stylecraft double knit wool in khaki
  • Metal look beads, 3
  • Small metal rings, 2
  • Acrylic paint (a little diluted with water and in lots of colours)
  • Strong tea (no milk or sugar)
  • Wooden cotton reels

After asking around for wooden cotton reels in a few haberdasheries and craft shops with no joy, I found bags of mixed size new ones on eBay. Got to love eBay.

Now being new and empty they needed some thread. I like to do things properly where I have the knowledge and resources, but I also don’t like to punish myself when there is a reasonable alternative. So we painted them. I know I know, I still feel as if I cheated, but it’s done now and even painting them took long enough.

They needed ageing, so, once the paint was completely dry I dumped the whole lot in a large bowl of strong tea, it seemed very appropriate, and left them soaking for half a day, then hung then on the line to dry.

It was then a simple case of threading them together with the wool (using a darning needle) and attaching a ring at either end of the cotton reels. We plaited the wool which goes around the back with a 6 string plait but using 12 strands of wool to thicken the whole thing up (each one of the 6 strings then consisted of 2 strands of wool, I hope that makes sense). The end that hangs down from the front was a straight forward 3 string plait. We finished both plaits with the metal look beads.

I know The Mad Hatter does not have earrings, but this costume is not a faithful reproduction, more of a homage. Plus we had to, the mini cotton reels that came in the mix bag are just adorable at only 9mm long.

So in answer to the question I posed sometime ago… Yes, that bandoleer does come with matching earrings, yay.

I started by painting and tea staining the cotton reels just like the bandoleer. Then I found some button earrings that I wasn’t going to wear and removed the buttons so I was left with the flat pad stud earring posts.

Using needle nose pliers I bent the sides of the flat pad to fit around the cotton reel, I also scuffed up the pad so that the super glue would have a better surface to adhere to.

Once I was happy with the fit, I super glued the reel to the no longer flat, flat pad stud earring posts.

When the glue had gone off I wrapped the reel and the pad with a cotton that matched the paint colour.

I think that’s enough for part one.

The full outfit and more details of how we put it together, coming soon, now available here, The Mad Hatter Costume.


Sunshine, just when I thought I’d never see you again.

Norfolk, among others places in the UK, was placed under a hosepipe ban around a month ago and it honestly has not stopped raining since. This is not me complaining we really don’t have the extremes of weather some have to contend with, plus I love moody weather, storms and dark sky’s.

Too much of anything can’t be good though, so, as if to make up for it we just had a very welcome couple of hours of sunshine, that and the fact that Norfolk is currently awash with beautiful yellow fields have enticed me outside for a well needed stretch of my legs.

Naturally I had my camera with me and I tried to capture some of the sunnier moments.

I hope you’re enjoying a few golden rays.


PS  I’m working on a fancy dress costume this week end with my eldest, so, lots more crafty fun on the way.

Wall hanging decorative earring and jewellery holder

My eldest got her ears pierced last summer and has amassed a significant earring stash. A couple of months ago she mentioned making a holder of some sort in a picture frame with net to hook the earrings through.

The idea stayed lodged in the back of my brain until I noticed an embroidery hoop in one of my favourite haberdasheries. In that moment the Wall hanging decorative earring and jewellery holder was conceived.


For this project I used;

* 3 x 15 cm embroidery hoops,
* 2m ish of 2.5 cm wide ribbon,
* 20cm from a 1.5m wide roll of netting ( lace or some kind of holy fabric Batman would also work ) I doubled up as the fabric was flimsy, I think two layers will be sturdy enough,
* paint, black acrylic mixed with a very small amount of water,
* a small metal ring 2 cm across.
* hot melt glue and super glue.

I started by separating the hoops, painting them black and leave them to dry.

I wanted the screws to be hidden behind the ribbon, and a glimpse of shiny brass would just be distracting, so I painted the screw heads but not the threads at this point, black as well. On the one I’m planing for myself I want to see the screws, I think there’s something quite beautiful about them.

I cut the netting so that there was some excess and placed it inside the embroidery hoops. As I doubled up the netting I cut two pieces for each hoop I was using, I lay one piece of netting on top of the other and from then on held the net together and treated it as one piece.

I then tightened the screws on the hoops just enough to hold the netting firmly.

I turned over the hoops and once I was sure the netting was tight in the hoop, I glued the netting to the inside hoop with hot melt glue  (inside hoop only, this was important as I was going to separate the hoops again).

I just glued the sections where the ribbon was going to run through the hoops at the top and bottom. I only glued down the netting for the same width as the ribbon I would be using.

Once the glue had set I trimmed off the excess netting, but only trimming at the top and bottom where I had glued it.

I was leaving the sides that were unglued, untrimmed. This makes it a lot easier to pull the netting tight when I put it all back together again.

Then I threaded the small metal ring through the ribbon before starting assembly.

I found one that looks like brass in the bottom of my craft box, no idea where it came from. It was perfect and makes the hole thing so much easier and neater to hang when finished. This is not essential, the loop of ribbon work also work.

Putting it all together took some time, it was more that a bit fiddly.

This is were pre- gluing parts of the netting really helped.

With the embroidery hoops back together, but very very loosely, I had to thread the ribbon through the back and keep the netting on the front.

I then tightened the screws again, just enough to hold everything in place.

Next I hung it up, adjusted the spacings, pull the netting tight, and made sure the ribbon was tight at the back. Once I was completely happy, I tighten the screws off and then rechecked.

Gently I took it down and placed it face down on my work surface.

I then ran a thin bead of super glue all the way around ( where the two hoops come together and the netting is sticking out ) once it was dry I trimmed off the rest of excess netting. I touched-up the paintwork and painted the screw heads again and the threads this time.

To finish I added a bow on top of the metal ring it was to hang from.

I hope you enjoyed my  guide to how I made my daughters earring holder.

I’ve got to make one for myself now, I will defenatly post some photos.

Any feedback on the tutorial is very welcome, especially if you have a go and make your own, I would love to see it.


The force made me or Yoda birthday card

I felt compelled to make this card today

Use aperture card I did.
Sketch of Yoda in 4B pencil on 200gm fine grain paper it is.

It’s my brothers birthday soon and Yoda is one of his favourites, I hope he’ll like it.

Quick tip for this card, the last thing I want is for the sketch to get smudged when it’s opened. I cut a piece of the clear wrapping that the cards come in ( it’s some sort of cellophane ) and placed it over the top of the sketch before using double sided tape to hold it all in place inside the aperture card. Works like a single glazed dream.

May the Force be with you.