Craftidermy / cruelty to soft toys

Over my adult years I have amassed a small collection of soft toys. Cute as they are, I recently started to think it was weird to have a cuddly penguin hanging out with you in the marital bedroom. 

Also, I was flicking through the Daily Mail’s You magazine at the in-laws and was surprised to see an article that resonated with me (picture my dismay!) - it was about craft taxidermy, though of course everything has to be a portmanteau these days so it’s ‘craftidermy’.

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Time to do something with that wine cork collection

I’ve long suspected I should do something productive with my respectable middle class alcoholism. Write poetry that reaches into the soul after a night with a particularly lairy Shiraz? A bourgeois re-imagining of Hogarth’s Gin Lane?

How about a some craft hewn from wine corks? After all, I’ve been enthusiastically saving corks almost as often as I’ve been enthusiastically drinking. Hitherto, I’ve just chucked them into the faux fireplace claiming it’s boho décor when it’s more crack den chic.

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Silence of the Lambs glove modification

I got given some of those new-fangled ‘touchscreen friendly’ gloves for Christmas. Thanks to light witchcraft, this invention means winter hipsters don’t have to freeze their mitts off every time they want to Instagram a passing winter sunset or tweet about how cold it is.

Problem is that mine were far too big, somewhat undermining the whole fingertip-glove-screen-as-one concept. 

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So I tried shrinking them in the wash. Didn’t work.

What next? Well, settle down with scissors, thread and get down to some modification. 

Cut the ends off at the point they overstep your fingers. NB remove glove before this to avoid ‘finger snip’.

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Is it a lampshade? Is it a bin on a stick? ‘It’s certainly eccentric.’

You and your husband used to have matching bedside lamps - two rather ostentatious marble bases inherited from Granny topped with a Habitat shade (back when you thought Habitat was the height of luxury interior design). Then one shade inexplicably started to crack and peel. 

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The fitting was a bit wonky too, in the manner that modern crap fitted onto heirlooms is.

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One day you announce you’re making a new lampshade and dismantle the whole lot.

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Husband asks ‘what are you making the new one from?’ Reply that of course you don’t know and delve into the Box of Ruined Garments to find suitable bits of fabric. 

Dig out a pink silky top with a fatal pull in the silk and the cut out LOVE letters from a pillowcase dye job that went badly wrong. 

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'Knit a kidney?'

Such was the subject line of an intriguing email from my brother-in-law, who wondered if I might create a gift for his friend. The friend in question is having part of a kidney removed, so what better get well soon pick-me-up than a knitted substitute? With a smiley face. An amusing craft challenge AND the promise of a nice bottle of wine in reward? I’m in.

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5 states, some tea leaves and a lot of wallpaper paste

Last year my husband and I went on the ultimate US adventure, taking in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, California and New York on planes, trains and automobiles. I’ve already created one piece of art from it and now it’s time to rinse the experience for another. Never let it be said I don’t get my money’s worth.

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Things that don’t look like Walter White

Seems like all you need to do to get a few hundred retweets these days is to dress something up like Walter White.

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I’m not denying that Breaking Bad makes for a fun fancy dress meme. Humans dressed as humans, fair enough. I’ll probably do it myself some day. But this week the internet’s love of cats and dressing up as Walter White collided in shitacular style.

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And that’s supposed to be good is it? The number of times it appeared in my newsfeed this week would suggest so. Are we all so in the thrall of cats and dressing up like Walter White that we can’t point out that’s rubbish?

Which, as Carrie Bradshaw would put it, got me to thinking: how many things look stupid dressed up like Walter White?

As it turns out, lots of things.

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Yeah Beaker! Yeah Science!

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Rolling sunsets into a ball

Like, I guess, a generic human I’m enthralled by sunsets. Live art performed by nature that’s more impressive than anything painted in human history. And they’re just there, because of science, not even trying.

Yet sunsets are nigh on impossible to do justice to on camera unless you’re a diligent, patient photographer with top notch equipment - and I don’t mean an Instagram filter. Flickr is full of people like this who know what they’re doing:

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However, I don’t have the necessary assets for that kind of thing. Our recent roadtrip round America yielded masterpieces sunsets like I’ve never seen before. Not that you’d be able to tell how awe inspiring they were from my photographs:

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Gus and Violent Clive find human hands in a fridge, I find some old crap and make it into a picture

One of the joys of doing craft without due care or forward planning is the fact you never know what you’re going to end up with. I didn’t know that this tweet:

Would result in this scene.

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The fox toy for infants yet to recognise a fox

My niece is now one year old, and after last Christmas’ XXL baby hat disaster I’m playing it safe for her first birthday gift. I was going to send her a Gus the Fox Oyster card holder, but thought her parents wouldn’t appreciate the tone. Or the risk she might sling it in a napsack and crawl down to London to see her aunt.

So in the name of fox-themed craft (because that’s my ‘thing’ now), I decided to make a little fox cushion that I saw in the Guardian

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Art and craft with flaws sewn in. This is a celebration of bodges, cut corners and good intentions; less a how-to, more of a how-it-actually-happens

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