Recycling Wallpaper

You may remember that some time ago I had collected wallpaper samples to use in a collage project with children at Rabbit Ings.  The leftover samples have been bumbling around my craft space and annoying me ever since.  It was time to do something with them.

For some time I’ve been promising myself that I’d do some weaving. I’m going to point the finger at Irene Donovan for origin of the weaving idea.  Irene has produced some beautiful woven wall hangings, and ever since I saw them I’ve wanted to bring weaving into my little craft world.   There was something else I’d seen too.  Ages ago I went to Holmfirth.  I visited the Up Country shop and saw some amazing woven cardboard baskets.  I managed to get hold of some corrugated cardboard last week, but I wanted to try out the technique before cutting the cardboard.

I’d found this tutorial by The Frugal Crafter (Lindsey Weirich has some wonderful craft ideas).  I didn’t particularly want to have to get out the paints to cover newspaper at this point, so I looked for an alternative coloured paper that I could use.  I realised I could use up the wallpaper samples that were rolling around the house.  They were thicker than newspaper, would produce a sturdy basket, and I could select colour combinations from those available.  I wanted to weave square or rectangular baskets, something I could use in my pantry to hold the small bags of dried fruit, nuts and various sachets that tend to fall off the shelves.  A bit more searching and I found another tutorial by Lisa on

The wallpaper was cut into 4 inch wide strips.  Each strip was folded to produce a 1 inch strip (fold in half, open and fold the edges into the middle, then fold again so that each strip is 1 inch wide).  Then it was just a matter of weaving the base (the baskets are 6 x 6 strips) and gluing with pva along the way.  Three more strips were used to weave the sides (pegs are really useful for holding the strips while the glue sets) and finaly the top edge strips were cut to about 1/2 inch long and a final strip placed over the top of them.  These are the baskets I made:

woven wallpaper basket 1 woven wallpaper basket 2 woven wallpaper basket 3 woven wallpaper basket 4Thought the baskets are not perfect squares, they are perfect for the job I need them to do.  After a few trials the fiddly process became easier.  I’m still building up to using the corrugated cardboard though.

I also managed to complete a folder cover inspired by Anne Brooke.  Strips of torn wallpaper were glued onto a background of brown paper and stitched:

stitched wallpaper picture 1A layer of leaves were stitched onto the background:

stitched wallpaper picture 2And a second layer of leaves:

stitched wallpaper picture 3Flower petals were added and stitched:

stitched wallpaper picture 4Finally the piece was cut (about half an inch longer than the folder top to bottom, and each edge folded inside the folder by abouallowing about 6 inches) to fit a folder .  The edges were stitched, and the edges were again folded in and stitched in place so that it would would fit over a folder.  This is the front:

stitched wallpaper picture 5And here is the back:

stitched wallpaper picture 6Easy!

Thankfully my craft space and my pantry are a little tidier.  I’m now wondering what to do next.  Maybe it’s time to get back to the machine embroidery course.

Card Making with Scrap Papers

After making the daffodil postcard yesterday I felt inspired to make some cards today.  I wanted to continue working with the dyed and painted scrap papers to see what I could do with them.  I have some aperture cards I’ve bought over the years, mainly when they have been really cheap in sales/end of line bins.  I started with cards that had oval apertures, and with the egg shape I thought it would be good to try to make some Easter cards.

The first idea I had was to stitch circles over parts of a piece of dyed paper.  This is the paper with the stitching:


When I tried this in the oval aperture it didn’t stand out very well.  On to plan B!

Searching through more dyed and painted papers and found this piece:


This was just computer paper with white wax crayon flowers drawn onto it, then pink paint brushed over it.  I wasn’t that fond of it, and didn’t think I would ever use it.  I stitched around some of the flowers with black thread (a thicker piece of waste paper was placed behind it for stitching to keep it flat).  Here’s the finished card:


The black stitching made all the difference.  I was quite pleased with the effect.

The next paper I used was this one:


I’d scribbled on computer paper with white crayon and then thrown on some different coloured paints (Brusho).  I really liked this paper.  I stitched on some of the white lines with gold thread, then added some circles and more lines.  This is the card:


The next card was made using a piece of dyed paper, again stitched with gold thread:


Unfortunately at this point I discoverd I had no more of the oval aperture cards.  However, I did have some other cards with small heart apertures.  I found some paper with red marks on it (again I thought I would never use the paper).  I stitched lines across the paper with red and gold thread.  This is a section of the paper:


Here are the cards from this scrap of paper:


And a close up of the hearts:


Finally I used some red dyed paper, stitched over it with red, gold, purple and pink thread, and stitched it onto the card:


I don’t like the stitching around this heart, but it was just anotherexperiment on my learing journey.

At the end of this little session I’m feeling pleased with my attempts to recycle the dyed and painted scrap papers.  I could be up for more of this tomorrow.

Postcard and Inspiration Board Update

Yesterday I spent time making a board for postcards and inspiratonal pictures etc.  I didn’t manage to finish it, even though I was up until the early hours sewing on small buttons.  After more button sewing this morning the board was almost complete.

I wanted to neaten the back of the board.  I’d left it with the tv box cover showing, and lots of string and staples around the edges.  I cut a piece of lining paper to cover the box, and used duct tape to cover the edges and to fasten down the lining paper.  The only other thing left to do was to add a few loops, one either side near to the top.  Again I used string, masking tape and a few staples.  This is the view of the back of the board:


This is a close-up of the hanging loop:


As you can see it’s all a bit botchit and scarper!  You should see me trying to use a screwdriver, and the hammer when the screwdriver doesn’t work.  It’s an interesting sight, though I would advise earplugs just in case my thoughts do slip out of my mouth!

Finally I managed to hang the board on the wall near to where I do most of my stitching, and here it is, complete with postcards to test it out:


At last I have a board for the postcards, inspirational pictures, bits and bobs etc.  I’m really looking forward to finding items to hang or pin onto the board, and to seeing how this will develop.

While I had the hammer out I also got around to positioning the whimsical wall hanging  outside my bathroom:


I didn’t even stop there.  I went on to hang a mirror in my bedroom.  After staring at it for a few minutes with my head held to one side I decided it was definately a bit lopsided, and it was time to put the hammer away before I could make it any worse.  I’m not quite ready to join cowboy builders, but I have moved a step closer. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Postcard and Inspiration Board

After an enjoyable card making session yesterday, my original plan for today was to make more cards.  Somewhere along the line I became a little sidetracked.

Late this morning I decided it was time for a trip to the local dumpit site.  I tend to put unwanted items in the back of my car and forget about them.  After filling the boot with a few broken electrical items and a duvet I set off with the intention of disposing of the items, calling at the supermarket and heading home.  On my way there I started pondering on the idea of making some kind of notice board or memo board for postcards received in swaps, and any inspirational items.  I decided that what I needed was a very large piece of cardboard, something that I could cover with fabric.  As I drove into the local dumpit site I noticed a man disposing a large box.  I suddenly became all excited, and without even thinking about it I wound down the window of my car and shouted ‘Excuse me, can I have your box?’  The poor man looked a little confused, but after repeating the request he agreed to it.  As you can imagine I got a few strange looks from onlookers, so I thought it only fair to explain that I needed it to make a memo board.

When I finally returned home I dragged the box into my living room and looked forward to starting on the recycling (or upcucliing).     When my son walked into the living room his face lit up.  This is what he saw:


Poor thing thought I’d bought a brand new TV.  When I explained it was an empty box, and why I needed it, he didn’t seem to understand the great attraction.  He had clearly forgotton all the hours he had spent as a young boy playing with a large box instead of with the toy that came out of the box.  Less is more!

I had a large piece of hardboard which was about the right size for a memo board.  I used it as a template.  I placed the cardboard on my large cutting mat, the hardboard on top of the cardboard, and used a ruler as an additional guide for the stanley knife.


I then cut a piece of cream polyester cotton a couple of inches bigger (all the way round) than the cardboard.  This was placed on the cutting board, the cardboard on top, and the fabric was stapled onto the back of the cardboard.  Next I cut cream coloured string to form a grid over the front of the fabric.  This was again stapled at the back of the board.


I then decided to sew small buttons over the string intersections around the edges to help secure the string.


I’m going to continue adding buttons at some of the other intersections.  I’ll finish by covering the cardboard at the back with lining paper, adding duct tape over the edges and the staples at the back, and then I’ll add a few tapes for hanging the board.

I’m now looking forward to adding the first postcard I received in a swap, and lots of small decorative items and inspirational pictures.  It looks like I’ll be sewing buttons on into the early hours of the morning.

Photo and Stitch 365 Challenge – 11 Marigold

I’ve spent a week scratching my head and nibbling at my lip over a photo I took at Carlton Park.  This is the photo:


Please forgive my lovely assistants arm in the background, she was holding the flower up so I could get the picture of its head.  It was so warming to see a marigold showing its face in early January.  I really wanted to stitch a marigold but wasn’t sure how, hence the head scratching and lip nibbling.  I knew it would probably have to be stitched in layers as I didn’t want it to end up flat.  Would I have to cut the petals separately?  How would I get the shape?  How could I get them to be a similar size?  What about the jagged edges of the petals?  Could I stitch spiral layout at the centre?  Anyway, last night I decided that I would take the bull by the horns and stitch a marigold today.  If it works, it works.  If not, I learn something.

Here is the stitched marigold:


I started with different sized circles of orange fabric (I dyed it ages ago and wondered when I would ever use orange fabric).  I used pinking shears around the circle to give the jagged edges.  I then went round with them again to cut between the jagged edges.  Does that make sense?  Next I cut into the circle to give the shape of the petals.  Small sections between petals were removed.

The next question was ‘How do I get the petals to curl a little?’  I decided that if I stitched the lines from the centre of the flower down the petals on each layer the fabric would become a little distorted.  I could always pull the petals gently to distort them more.  This is what one layer looked like:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I completed each layer I went back with my embroidery scissors to remove any frayed edges and to reshape the end of the petals where they appeared too ‘square’.

Next I stitched the brown centre.  I drew a circle on top of a doubled, used colour catcher (one that had been through the wash with a burgandy quilt). I read somewhere that the colour catchers could be used for stitching on, and yes they are; it’s like stitching on a small piece of lutradur.  No fraying! I stitched the spiral pattern centre then cut out the circle.  A nice little bit of recycling there.

The last part was easy.  I layered up the flower, added the centre and stitched round the centre to hold it together.  I stitched round the centre again to secure it onto the backing fabric.  Easy!  The only other thing to do was to shake it, blow the petals and admire the result.

I thought about adding leaves, but that would detract from the marigold.  The whole point of this for me was to try to reproduce the flower.  The centre of the flower looks a little flat.  I wish I’d added a small layer of wadding underneath it.

I’m now thinking ‘How good would a large version of this look stitched as a cushion and placed on a wicker chair in a conservatory?’  I don’t have a conservatory.  Pity!  A big daisy would look good too.  I took a photo of a daisy in carlton park…….  The project would require a fabric that doesn’t fray.  Felt maybe?  This is sooooo tempting!


Reporters Notebook Cover

Months ago I started a notebook cover.  I had lots of small left over pieces of plain fabric which I painted, splattered, stencilled etc. with acrylic paints and fabric paints.  I stuck to certain colours – mainly blue, turquoise, greens, and a little purple and yellow.  I’d cut small pieces from the painted fabric and then stitched them onto backing with a zigzag stitch to produce a small piece of crazy patchwork fabric.  I also cut the inside fabric and two pieces for the notebook pocket and a side pocket.  That’s where I left it until today.  After an hours searching for the cut pieces and the instructions (I am so disorganised) I spent an hour or so making up the notebook cover.

The instructions I used were the shopping list and coupon organiser by Christina on the 2 little hooligans website (if you’re reading this, thank you for the tutorial Christina).  I adapted the pattern slightly – I didn’t include the zippered pouch (it’s a great idea but I’m a bit of a slap dash stitcher who always takes the easy way out).  The instructions were clear and easy to follow, with lots of good photos.

This is the finished notebook cover:


Isn’t it great that we can make such unique items by combining a bit of recycling, a bit of imagination and instructions kindly written by another blogger.

Guess what some of my friends will be receiving at Christmas this year!