Craft Books: A Miscellaneous Medley

While I would probably classify myself as a textile artist, with the majority of my books covering the textile crafts of embroidery; sewing and dressmaking; patchwork, appliqué and quilting; soft toy making; felting; knitting and crochet; textile dyeing; printing; and paper crafts, I also own a few books on other fibre crafts like basketry, making corn dollies, whittling, bread dough sculpture and making paper kites and lanterns, as well as those using totally different mediums, including wax (candle making); glass (jewellery making); and clay (mosaics, handmade tiles and sculpture). Many of these crafts are relatively cheap, as they use natural materials (plant fibres, bread, wood, paper, wax and sand or dirt) and forces (hands, wind, light) and can be enjoyed at both a beginner or advanced level. Here is a selection of books accrued during my journey through life!

Basketry and Weaving With Natural Materials by Pat Dale 1998

I have always loved baskets and have been fascinated for years by the whole basketmaking process, so when I discovered that we had an active basketmaking group, Basketeers Wyndham, here on the Far South Coast of NSW, I spent a day with them at their local meeting place, the Willy Wagtail Café, Wyndham. They are a lovely group and very generous with their time, knowledge and materials and I really enjoyed making the small basket below, however I did not pursue the craft further due to early arthritic changes in both my hands (feltmaking also went by the way for the same reason- I need to save my hands for embroidery!), not to mention the fact that you need heaps of room to dry, process and store natural fibres from the garden. However, if you are interested in basket making, joining a basketmaking group is a great way to learn basic hands-on techniques, as well as being a lot of fun!BlogMiscMedley2015-09-01 14.10.58I would also highly recommend this book as an excellent beginner’s guide to basketry and weaving with natural materials. It starts with a large section on natural materials: the leaves of agave, arum lily, bulrush, cane grass, canna lily, corn, cymbidium, Hemerocallis, dianella, ginger, gladioli, iris, cliveas, kangaroo paw, lomandra, phormium, kniphofia, and a variety of rushes and palms; and the stems of box thorn, native hibiscus, lavender, wattles, elms and oaks, kurrajong, paperbark and casuarinas, clematis, coral pea, dodder, ivy, jasmine, lawyer vine, lignum and wisteria, including a description, harvesting and preparation notes, and availability. It’s a wonderful sideline for gardeners, as you can use all your prunings and old leaves to great effect with zero waste! Below are photos of Monbretia (on the left) and Kniphofia (on the right), whose strappy leaves are perfect for basketry materials!

The book progresses to teaching basic techniques like under-and-over weaving; braiding and plaiting with three strands, basic melon basket construction and basket coiling with easy random stitching and using natural plant dyes, as well as providing instructions for a few easy projects, including harvest dolls, tassels, lavender wands or bottles, three palm sheath containers, a plaited and sewn Autumn mat, a stitched and coiled basket and a God’s Eye. Throughout the book are excellent diagrams and beautiful colour photographs of natural materials and projects.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6304

I have attended many different craft classes during my life, some more obscure than others, like Painting Ukrainian Easter Eggs and Making Corn Dollies, and this next book resulted from the latter workshop.

Discovering Corn Dollies by M. Lambeth 1994

Corn dollies are decorative art forms made from straw since pagan times to celebrate successful harvests and bring good luck and fertility.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6358 This little paperback describes the huge wealth of legends and traditions surrounding them; the basic plaiting technique; and all the different designs: the traditional dolly or Neck; a variety of Countryman’s Favours; the Glory; the Mare; the Staffordshire Knot; the Cambridgeshire Handbell and Umbrella; Horns; the Crook; the Crown; the Suffolk Horseshoe; the Pickering Chalice; the Yorkshire Candlestick; the Essex Terret; Mother Earth;  Heredfordshire and Welsh Fans and Scandinavian Christmas Ornaments. While there is a small amount of basic instruction, it is more a theoretical book, but does give a good idea of this craft’s long history and traditions.

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Bread Dough Creations by Susan Roach 1993

Another obscure phase, which didn’t last very long in my childhood, was modelling bread dough creations and they can be surprisingly effective and quite pretty, given their unlikely source of material. This small book showcases this art form very well, describing the materials and basic techniques and a number of projects embellished with bread dough flowers and shapes from jewellery, hair combs and headbands, and hand mirrors and photo frames to thimbles, jewellery boxes, candle holders, serviette rings, wall plaques, door hangers and door wedges. It certainly is a cheap hobby, a great use for old bread and a fun craft to try with your kids.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6303

Whittling by Rosalie Brown 1977

Another cheap and fun craft for kids and adults alike is whittling wood. All it requires is a wood and a penknife and lots of practice and patience, though you do need tools to sharpen the knife, as well as sandpaper, varnishes and paints to finish the work. Chapters cover: sharpening a penknife; woods and how to identify them, basic carving techniques and safety considerations, and notes for carving a wide variety of projects, including paper knives; picnic cutlery; chopsticks; napkin rings; animals and birds; chess pieces; walking sticks; and totem poles and symbols. Soap and plaster carving are also discussed. It is a comprehensive little book, which should provide hours of fun and inspiration.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6301

Kites by Didier Carpentier and Joël Bachelet 1981

Making and flying kites is another fun hobby! It too has a long history, originating in China 4000 years ago, and is popular all over the world, especially in China, Japan and Korea. The first few chapters discuss the history and stories behind kites; the necessary safety precautions; the parts of a kite; classification of designs and categories; physical aspects; winds; methods for measuring altitude; the take-off; and problem areas, causes and remedies, followed by a more detailed examination of the different parts of the kite (bridles and keels, knots,  tails, reels); tools and materials; basic instructions for making  and decorating paper and collapsible nylon kites and descriptions of a wide variety of different types of kites with some amazing appearances and structures and names like the Dragon, the Cobra and the Centipede to the Triple Conyne; Double-sailed Roller; Pomoserf, Saconney and Cody; and the Stunter and the Fourré  43.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6300

In our early years of married life, we made a basic paper kite, based on the old nursery rhyme about the cow that jumped over the moon, for a family kite flying competition, in which we came a very creditable second place!BlogMiscMedley40%IMG_6309BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6308BlogMiscMedley50%IMG_6310Magic Lanterns by Mary Maguire 2002

Lanterns have also fascinated me over the years with some memorable nights on the banks of the Lismore (2004 Top photo) and Moruya Rivers (2016 Second photo) during their lantern festivals. While the Riverlights Lantern parade is no longer part of the Granite Town Festival (Moruya River), the next Lismore Lantern Parade is on 22 Jun 2019. See: https://www.lanternparade.com/.

BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6356BlogMiscMedley25%Photo 28-10-16, 8 57 32 pmThis lovely book has instructions for a wide range of lanterns from simple and colourful paper bag lanterns, Chinese lanterns, carved squash, punched tins and frosted jars to tin foil garden flowers, weird icicles, flower fairy bells, stars on sticks and crescent moons, willow fish, Christmas lights and whimsical goblin night lights. It discusses materials and equipment; safety and illumination; and the basic techniques for creating and covering structures. I could make any one of these delightful, magical and highly creative lanterns!

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In her book, the author refers to the deep emotional connection that we have to the lighting of yesteryear, which manifests itself in our yearning for simplicity, now that electric lighting has obviated the need for lanterns and candles. We still enjoy using both for special occasions like Christmas and Halloween or for romantic dinners, so it stands to reason that I would have two books on candles and candle making in my craft library!

The Book of Candles by Miranda Innes 1991

Both a theoretical and practical guide, this book begins with their history and a Catalogue of Candles and Candlesticks, discussing the different kinds of candles (dipped, church, beeswax, Christmas, decorated, scented, floating and garden) and candlesticks (metal, ceramic, glass, wood,chandeliers,  candelabras and sconces) and accessories (dripcatchers, shade holders, candle shades, snuffers, wick trimmers, candle boxes, candle stickers and foam snuggers).

The second half of the book describes the art of making candles: the ingredients (types of wax, wicks, dyes, paints and crayons) and basic equipment (double boiler, hotplate, scales, wax thermometer, newspaper, aprons, stirring spoon or stick, moulds, tweezers and scissors); general tips (melting wax, using beeswax, priming the wick and general precautions); making dipped, moulded, scented, rolled and pressed flower candles and methods of decoration (painting techniques and using mixed media including fresh foliage, foil, tissue paper and carving).

I will definitely be trying to make dipped candles, scented and pressed flower candles in the future! A good general guide for beginners like me!

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The New Candle Book by Gloria Nicol 1995

A similar type of book, it is larger and more comprehensive. Again, the first half of the book is devoted to chapters exploring their use in the home; different themes , seasons and special occasions like weddings, christenings, St Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, Halloween and birthdays; and different types of candles. It gives you a good idea of the wide variety of uses and presentations, from Victorian pressed glass and embossed tumblers and old-fashioned china teacups to floral arrangements, shells and floating bowls. But be warned, I once had a monumental and memorable disaster when the floating candles were caught under the rim of the bowl, the flames heating the glass until it shattered spectacularly, deluging the dinner table with water!

The second half of the book looks at practical considerations: Materials and equipment; detailed instructions for making dipped, moulded, scented;, candy-twist, floating , sand and rolled candles; decorating techniques (carved, stencilled, sponged or embossed; painted or marbled; using foil, gold leaf and sequins); and candle holders (types and projects). I love the idea of using old sardine cans and bottles and would love to try making the Byzantine jam jars, the Foil Leaf Chandelier and the colourful tin foil pie dish flowerheads of the Garden Candleholders. There are also patterns for storage boxes and candle shades.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6297

The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking by Kimberley Adams 2005

When I think of crafts involving light, I automatically think of glass and this next book is the glass beadmaker’s bible! My daughter studied glass bead making as part of her Design and Technology course in Year 12 and made some beautiful jewellery pieces, many of which she sold at the local craft gallery. Below are photos of her final year project for D & T: Rainforest, River and Sea 2006 and my favourite necklace!BlogMiscMedley30%DSCF0312BlogMiscMedley40%DSCF9207This book covers everything you need to know about glass bead making:

Tools, supplies and materials required;

Setting up the studio, ventilation and lighting, ergonomics and the all-important safety equipment, clothing and precautions;

Basic techniques: prepping the mandrels, lighting and using the torch, heating the glass to the molten state, winding the first bead, varying the bead shape, finishing the ends, flame annealing and cooling, and removing the beads from the mandrel; and

Shaping the beads: barrels, rounded or oblong, cones and bicones, pressed, disc, grooved and patterned, stacking colours and surface decoration (frit, dots, making and using stringers, twists, trailing and averturine).BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6320Intermediate techniques include: Applying enamels; reduction frit; encasing beads; altering bead surfaces with mixed media (baking soda, mica powders and etching cream); shaping and sculpting (furrows, cutting hot glass, sculpting with a graphite paddle, pinching glass with tweezers and making large-hole beads); adding metals to beads (leaf and foils; silver stringers, shavings and fine wire; and copper tubing); and gravity beads, millefiori and dichroic glass. The beads in the photo below were made from recycled window pane glass and were Caro’s first experience with glass-making.BlogMiscMedley40%DSCF2596The Advanced section includes notes on: Fuming; hollow beads; sculptural techniques for making winged hearts, spiral seashells and Aegean urns; and making decorative canes (millefiori or mosaic glass, latticino and murrini), including numbers and letters, eyes and portraits and flowers. More of Caro’s homemade glass bead jewellery…..BlogMiscMedley30%DSCF5112_1BlogMiscMedley30%DSCF5123_1BlogMiscMedley30%DSCF5124_1Each section is supported by wonderful full-colour gallery pages showcasing all these techniques and types of glass beads and there is a trouble-shooting guide at the end of the book, as well as a pattern and instructions for making a ventilation hood.

It is an excellent guide for anyone who loves glass beads and colour and essential for serious glass bead makers!

BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6296Backyard Mosaics by Connie Sheerin 2002

If colour is your thing, then you are sure to love mosaics! My first experience with this craft form was with a friend when my children were young. We made mosaic stepping stones from circular concrete pavers and they have followed us to every garden, their installation being one of the very first gardening chores of the new property !Blog NewBeginnings20%Reszd2015-01-21 10.34.49

I loved fitting all the colours and random shaped pieces to create personal artworks. My next experience was a Mother’s Day workshop with Helen Millar of a Flock of Birds (http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org/), in which I made a Mother Bird and Baby Bird Plate. It was such a fun day and the time just flew! I was in another world!BlogCreativity120%Reszd2014-05-03 20.36.56Helen holds one day classes at the Geelong West Community Centre, where I also attended a second workshop to make two Birds on a Stick.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0580Making mosaics is very addictive and limited only by availability of materials! Because we have moved a bit, carting broken tiles and china and heavy bags of grout and cement is not really an option, but now we are settled, I may start to amass my materials again! I certainly plan to make a mosaic one day with all the broken bits of china, glass and ironware, which we have unearthed in our ex-turn of the century-blacksmith- garden!

Mosaics can be used to decorate all manner of things from tables, trays and trolleys to votive holders, picture and mirror frames, signs, boxes and birdhouses, fountains, balls, pots and planters and garden statues. They can be made from ceramic tiles, glass, china and pottery, shells and buttons and are used to a wide variety of surfaces from wood to ceramics, cement, metal, glass, mirror and plastic. All are described in this lovely book, along with :

Other basic materials: Grout; colorants, adhesives and sealers; pattern drawing supplies (transfer paper, graph paper, templates, rulers, pencils and markers); and protective gear (goggles and latex gloves);

Equipment:  Tile cutters and nippers; mallets; spreaders; tweezers and brushes;

Basic techniques: Preparation of china, tiles and surfaces; adhering the tesserae to the surface; grouting the design; cleaning up the grout; and finishing the piece; as well as making glass sandwich tiles with pressed flowers.

The rest of the book is devoted to a wide variety of mosaic projects for the garden and outdoor living. I loved her White Daisy Table; Hearts and Flowers Gazing Ball; and her Mosaic Frog, Turtle and Mushroom Garden Statues.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6295For more about the use of mosaic in gardens, see my post on Artists Gardens: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/10/11/favourite-private-specialty-gardens-part-1-artists-gardens/.

Handmade Tiles by Frank Giorgini 1994

This book is for those, who would prefer to make their own handmade tiles, rather than smash them up for mosaics!!! This lovely book teaches you how to design, make and decorate your own tiles for a very personal touch in your home!

The book starts with a detailed description of the handcrafted tradition in ceramic tiles from their use in Ancient Egyptian tombs and Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and Spanish palaces to Italian maiolica; Dutch delftware; Medieval raised earthy tiles and inlaid tiles; Minton’s multi-colored encaustic inlaid floor tiles of the Industrial Revolution; the decorative art tiles of the Arts and Crafts movement in America (Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tileworks;  Grueby Faience Company; Rookwood Pottery; Pewabic Pottery; Batchelder tiles; Claycraft Potteries; and California China Products Company; Calco; Malibu Tiles; Solon and Schemmel; and California Faience); and the revival of the handcrafted tradition from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Material, tools and equipment are discussed next, as well as in Chapter 14, including clay, kilns, pottery tools for sculpting, incising and scraping, cutting wires, templates, tile dippers, hangers, plaster-block mold forms, tile-waxing stands, slab cutters and tile presses.

The following chapters describe :

Making a flat tile: Making a slab, transferring the slab, calculating shrinkage, cutting tile shapes and drying tiles;

Making tile models for open-face press molds: Relief tiles, layering techniques and direct carving;

Making and using open-face press molds: Preparing the model and form, mixing and pouring the plaster, cleaning up and finishing the mold, and making clay plugs and pressing them into the mould;

Carved plaster blocks, tile presses and extruders, including making a carved plasterblock, pressing tiles by hand and using a tile press;

Surface decoration on unfired tiles: Stages of tile dryness, transferring designs, impressing, painting or spraying with underglazes, slips and engobes, slip trailing, inlaid tiles, sgraffiato, shellac resist, and screen printing on tiles;

Firing to hardness: Bisque firing and stages of firing;

Surface decoration on bisque tiles: Painting, dipping and spraying with glazes, wax resist for glaze separation, glaze scraping, stains and underglazes on bisques;

Glaze firing, overglazes and decals;

Mosaics: Materials and composition and mosaic design, assembly and installation;

Tile design: Applications (tables, counters, backsplashes, fireplace facades, murals, dry and wet walls and floors) and computer tile design;

Installation: Tools and adhesives; and installation on a table top; and finally and most importantly,

Health and safety: Studios, cleanliness, kiln safety, studio ventilation, protective gear, ergonomics and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

The appendices include temperature equivalents for cone-firing ranges; a flow chart of tile techniques; slip and glaze formulas and a schedule for cone 10 glaze reduction firing.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6294A very comprehensive and detailed book, similar to the glass bead making book in its depth and scope. While I love the concept of making my own tiles, it is probably another lifetime for me, but I did enjoy looking at all the beautiful artistic tiles featured in the book. The next book is much more my skill level and I can definitely see myself making some of the projects!

Handmade Clay Crafts by Susan Alexander and Taffnie Bogart 2000

This delightful book has always been a favourite for its lovely presentation, excellent explanations and descriptions and its quirky creative projects using kiln-fired, oven-bake and air-dry clay. I loved them all, but especially the floral pins and stamped buttons; door knobs, tiles and mirror frames; chicken planters and bird and flower finials; and miniature shoe, skimmer and chicken ornaments.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6314BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6315The possibilities are endless and further inspiration is provided in a gallery in the back, as well as a metric equivalency chart. This really is such a lovely book and highly recommended.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6293The Complete Potter: Animal Forms and Figurines by Rosemary Wren 1990

Another lovely book for those who like to play with clay, much of its content and photographs equally applicable and inspirational for soft toy making. Chapters cover:

Sources and development of ideas: Museums and historical precedents in clay and other mediums, zoos and aviaries; drawing in sketchbooks and experimenting with variations;

Materials: Types and properties of clay;

Equipment and its uses: Workshop; clay preparation; the wheel, turntable, working table, workboards and decorating table; lighting, claybins, small tools, glaze making equipment, drying and firing, choosing kilns and ergonomics;

Working to a theme;

Hollow handbuilding: Sculptural form; movement and expression; and decoration; and

Moulds; and

Earning your living.

There is also a gallery of inspiring artworks based on the human figure, animals and birds by twelve different artists, each describing their sources, techniques and artistic background. I particularly liked the work and style of Neil Ions and Anna Adams.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6292Finally, four general books on traditional and ethnic crafts:

Traditional Country Crafts by Miranda Innes 1993

A lovely book featuring a variety of traditional country crafts, including:

Needlecraft: Homely Amish and Mennonite quilts; traditional samplers; rag rugs; and feltwork;

Kitchencraft: Baskets; floor cloths; chimney boards; and punched tin;

Woodcraft: Shaker and Amish woodwork; wooden toys; weathervanes; game boards; automata; and animal houses; and

Decorative Craft: Painted ceramics; lampshades; papier mâché; flotsam and jetsam; bookbinding; and painted furniture.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6305Each of the 20 crafts featured includes a sample project as well. My son used this book to paint the wonderful chequered game board, which was designed by Sue Martin, in the photo below.

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I am also very drawn to: Clare Beaton’s Flowered Felt Hat; Moira Hankinson’s Somerset Trug; Nicola Henshaw’s Pull-Along Fish (as well as her seagull and pelican!); Marion Elliot’s Papier Mâché Money-Box and Cressida Bell’s Fruity Shelves.

Classic Crafts: A Practical Compendium of Traditional Skills Edited by Martina Margetts 1989

Another lovely coffee table book with a similar project-based approach and featuring 35 country and traditional handcrafts and their talented exponents, divided into four categories:

Textile Crafts: Hand block printing; quilting, smocking, patchwork and appliqué; dyeing and knitting; tassels and braids, Ikat weaving and rag rugs;

Paper Crafts: Paper making; marbling; calligraphy, wood engraving, letterpress printing, book binding and papier mâché;

Kitchen Crafts: Goat’s cheese, festival bread and biscuit making, smoking fish, chocolate making, preserves, cider making, basketry, dried flowers and candle making; and

Decorative Crafts: Stick dressing, gilding, carved birds, toymaking, leatherwork, spongeware, stencilled tiles, stained glass and jewellery.

My one criticism of this book was the lack of attribution of the works and projects featured to their designers on the same page. There is a thank you to the artists, listed in alphabetical order, at the front of the book, but I would have liked to have had more specificity. Luckily, I was familiar with and could recognise the work of Janet Bolton, Sarah Burnett and Ann Hechle, all favourites, but it took me ages to find the spongeware and ceramic artists, whose work I adored (John Hinchcliffe and Wendy Barber) and I would also love to know the names of the artists featured in the sections on the sections on marbling; stick dressing and carved birds.BlogMiscMedley30%IMG_6306Both books played an significant role in celebrating age-old traditions and the importance of handwork. It is great to see a revival in interest in these traditional skills, so they are perpetuated in future generations. The Lost Trades Fair in Kyneton, Victoria, showcases these traditional skills here in Australia. See http://losttrades.info/ and    https://www.rundellandrundell.com.au/lost-trades-australia.

Two local artisans on the Far South Coast are the Pambula Spoonsmith (http://www.spoonsmith.com.au/) and the Galba Forge Blacksmith (https://www.galbaforge.com.au/).

World Crafts by Jacqueline Herald 1992

My final book features pottery, basketry, carving, theatre and music crafts, painted and paper products, spinning and weaving, dyeing and printing, embroidery and appliqué, floor coverings and crafts using recycled materials from all over the world. It is a fascinating book with beautiful photographs, which tells us so much about traditional crafts, as well as the different cultures themselves. It is so important to document and preserve these skills, before traditional lifestyles and the old slow ways of doing things completely disappear. I particularly loved the chapters on theatre and music crafts, painted and paper products, dyeing and printing and embroidery and appliqué.BlogMiscMedley25%IMG_6307

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about this medley of miscellaneous craft books. Next month, I will be focusing on books about soft toy making and sewing for children.

Books on Papercraft: Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making Models/ Flowers/ Toys and Decorations; Papier-mâché and Papermaking

Last week, we examined some of the wonderful books describing general paper craft, in particular, those involving cutting : Papercutting; Silhouettes and Découpage. This week, we are focusing on Paper folding and origami; Constructing models, toys, games and decorations from paper, Papier-mâché and finally, the craft of making handmade paper!

Origami and Paper Folding

When one thinks of paper crafts, one of the first ones which springs to mind is the art of origami, which derives from the Japanese words: ‘ori’ meaning ‘to fold ‘and ‘kami’ ‘meaning ‘paper’. While paper folding itself probably started earlier in China, origami originated in Japan in the 6th Century, after paper was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. In 1797, the first known origami book was published in Japan: Senbazuru Orikata by Akisato Rito, though it was more about cultural customs and the Legend of the Thousand Cranes, in which the maker of 1000 paper cranes will have their heart’s desire come true.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.14.09 I didn’t quite get there with my paper crane mobile, which I made out of Japanese papers, seen in the photo below, and hung from an old shuttle for my friend Heather to celebrate the launch of her Saori weaving business, Art Weaver, in March 2014.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 08.42.36 Saori weaving  also originated in Japan and Heather is the Melbourne agent. See: http://artweaverstudio.com.au/. Here are some photos of the finished mobile!

The modern form of origami was developed and popularised by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), including the technique of wet-folding and the use of a set of universally recognised symbols for instruction, the Yoshizawa–Randlett system. Dotted and dashed lines represented mountain and valley folds, and Yoshizawa also created symbols for ‘inflate’ and ‘round’. These symbols and folding techniques are discussed in the next book, also written by a Japanese origami expert, who originally studied under Yoshizawa, but progressed to develop his own style.

Creative Origami by Kunihiko Kasahara 1967

My first book of origami, this is a great basic guide to the artform, with 100 patterns for creating birds, animals, insects, marine life, flora, masks and people. I have used it quite a bit over the years. In the back of the book, Kasahara also discusses the nature of creativity, especially in relation to origami, as well as the basic folds, framework and compounds. For more on the author, see: http://www.britishorigami.info/academic/lister/kasahara.php.

You can also find excellent patterns online at sites like: https://www.origami-resource-center.com/free-origami-instructions.html; http://www.origami-fun.com/free-origami-instructions.html and https://origami.me/diagrams/.

It is also well worth looking at the art of  origami masters like Robert J Lang at : http://www.langorigami.com/, especially: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYKcOFQCeno. Absolutely mind-blowing!

The artwork of other contemporary practitioners can be seen on: https://mymodernmet.com/contemporary-origami-artists/.

I would also love to see the documentary Between the Folds one day. See: https://www.betweenthefolds.com/.

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The Ultimate Papercraft and Origami Book by Paul Jackson and Angela A’Court 1992

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Children may find the origami patterns in this book slightly easier to follow, as this particular book is very much directed at a younger audience. My children used this book to develop their paper craft skills, including making wrapping paper, gift boxes, gift tags, cards (see photo of my daughter’s homemade cards below) and envelopes, party hats, masks, desk sets, kites, mobiles and decorations, pantins and paper dolls, paper flowers, papier-mâché models and even Easter baskets, Christmas crackers and Advent calendars.BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.09BlogPaperPost5012-12-20 19.27.34There are also some wonderful websites on origami and YouTube clips make it all so much easier! I had a lovely day teaching Zoë to make an origami cat, fox and mice bookmarks, which can be found on the following websites:

http://make-origami.com/easy-origami-cat/;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGJv9eHwoMs;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajPnqLqvqqM.

BlogPapercraft2016-01-01 01.00.00-23 (2)Folded Secrets: Paper Folding Projects Books One to Four.

I also own a series of books based on Chinese paper folding by Ruth Smith, who describes how to make ‘Zhen Xian Bao’ or Needle Thread Pockets, an ancient traditional art in South West China practised by the Miao, Dong and other minorities. See: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1249&sid=dba0d7a0a57d924a2077acf54ca74eb0.

Ruth has an article about these pockets on: http://www.foldingdidactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/zhen_xian_beyo.pdf, but it is well worth purchasing her books, so you can work your way through all her projects of increasing complexity. I had to email Ruth to buy this books at : eruthsmith@btinternet.com. Hopefully, the email address is still current.

I found these little pockets fascinating and the instructions very clear and easy to follow. After practising the basic technique with brown paper and making this Folded Secrets Book with 15 Compartments,BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.06.06

I made Square Mini Books for Christmas gifts (Book One),BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.49BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.40BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.13.52 my skills culminating in the Folded Secrets Advent Calendar for 2012 (Book Four).BlogPaperPost5012-12-01 06.59.52

Each pocket held a tiny gift or a rhyming clue for a treasure hunt to locate larger objects.BlogPaperPost5012-11-27 11.49.03

There are also instructions for making interesting cards and beautiful gift boxes in Book Two.  I would love to try making the Star Fold Pockets one day!

Paper Toys, Games, Models and  Decorations

Childhood Games and Toys

Some of our earliest experiences with paper, at least when I was growing up, are paper chains and dressing up paper dolls, so I have included the following three books.

Vanishing Animal Paper Chains: A Complete Kit by Stewart and Sally Walton 1996

Using 12 animal stencils and patterned paper provided in the book, the authors give simple instructions for making paper chains, which can then be used to make cards, masks, calendars, games, wall friezes, t-shirt stencils and even a safari game park. The inset boxes teach children about the different rare animals from rhinos, mountain gorillas and snow leopards to giant anteaters, Arabian oryx and dhole, the wild dog of East Asia and India.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.41.37

I also used to love dressing paper dolls, with their little tabs which bent over the background figure, usually at the shoulders. I don’t know that they are available anymore or if kids would still enjoy them. Remember we are talking about pre-computer days!!!

Fashion Paper Dolls From ‘ Godey’s Lady’s Book’ 1840-1854 by Susan Johnston 1977

Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in America and was the most influential women’s magazine of  the 19th century. See: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=godeylady and  http://www.accessible-archives.com/collections/godeys-ladys-book/.

It provided its readers with needlework projects, household hints and recipes, as well as hand-tinted fold-outs, showing the latest fashions. This book contains seven fashion paper dolls, each with its own wardrobe, with 50 costumes in all.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.19

Paper Doll Portrait: Antique German Bisque Dolls by Peggy Jo Rosamond 1985

Peggy Jo Rosamond is a serious antique doll collector, including the German Bisque dolls, as well as paper dolls. This book combines her interests, featuring six original paper dolls with authentic period costumes from the 1920s. Once made and dressed, they can be assembled in a ‘Portrait in the Park’ tableau.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.42.13

As children, we also used to make houses out of shoe boxes, cutting doors and four-paned windows and decorating the insides with patterned paper and homemade furniture made from matchboxes. Making cardboard models and dioramas is an excellent way to develop children’s  imagination and creativity, as well as their eye-hand coordination skills. The following two books have taken on this concept, though really are an extension of the paper doll world. I still prefer the originality of homemade versions, even though these miniature worlds are very cute!!

Mouse’s Christmas Tree : A Cutout Model Book  by Michelle Cartlidge 1985

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Instead of dressing paper dolls, this book decorates a Christmas tree for carol-singing mice, complete with decorations, candles, stockings, paper chains and gift boxes, while

Little Boxes: A Cutout Model Book by Michelle Cartlidge 1983

Is based on a collection of little boxes, each containing a miniature stand-up scene: a puppet show; sweet shop; rabbits playing by moonlight; a ballet class for mice; sailing boats on the sea; bunnies in bed; and a mouse house with four rooms.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.33

Having developed box-making skills with the latter book, the next two books extends the artform with 15 very beautiful gift boxes of a variety of unusual shapes and 8 mathematical models to cut out and assemble.

The Gift Box Book by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild 1999

This lovely book, aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but really appropriate for any age group, contains 11 gift boxes, including a Flower Basket; a hexagonal English Rose Box; Pandora’s Box; Black Diamond Box; a pentagonal Mosaic Box; a triangular Lilac Box; Green Crystal Box; Rocket Box; Tent of Paradise Box; Lady Eleanor’s Casket; and the Fibonacci Box, and four boxes to colour yourself : Cottage Box; Sailing Ship Box; Rainbow Box; and Butterfly Box; as well as instructions for designing and making your own gift boxes, including cube-shaped boxes with attached lids; treasure chests; tent boxes (like Toblerone chocolate boxes); circular boxes with a separate lid and boxes with sloping sides.

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Make Shapes: Series No. 2: 8 Mathematical Models to Cut Out, Glue and Decorate by Gerald Jenkins and Anne Wild  1978

If your appetite is whetted for making increasingly complex shapes, this book is ideal for you! Plans are provided for a Great Dodecahedron; a Great Stellated Dodecahedron, a Rhombicosidodecahedron; an Icosidodecahedron;  a Compound of Five Tetrahedra; an Octahedran Cross; a Third Stellation of Icosahedron; and a Faceted Cube. In the back are notes about decorating these shapes. I must admit, we never did get round to making these models, but they look stunning and maybe, I will make up the Third Stellation of Icosahedron, the Great Dodecahedron or a Great Stellated Dodecahedron for Christmas one day! There is an earlier book in the series with slightly simpler models, which might be a bit easier for us!!!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.42.49

Another childhood activity was making huge concertina-folded crepe paper flowers and may have more appeal than mathematical models! While my childhood blooms were very dramatic and simple, the following book has a more modern and sophisticated approach with a huge variety of paper flowers.

Fanciful Paper Flowers: Creative Techniques for Crafting an Enchanted Garden by Sandra Evertson 2007

Using 10 different techniques and the beautiful vintage papers and ephemera provided, Sandra has instructions for 30 projects from simple bouquets, garlands and wreaths, and floral baubles and window decorations; to tiaras and brooches and even shoe clips and hat pins.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.42.56The next two books are wonderful sources of inspiration for adults with the paper bug!

Paper Bliss: Projects and Musings on Life in the Paper Lane by Skye Rogers 2012

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Using 10 templates printed on the inside of the book cover, 8 handmade specialty papers, specially designed by Skye, and recycled waste paper, this lovely book describes 29 projects, including milk carton vases; papier-mâché bowls; book sculptures; paper boxes and houses; mobiles and wreaths; books, envelopes and cards; stamp artwork; paper dolls and roses; articulated figures; twirling hearts; découpage drawers; and shadow treasure boxes. Here is a photo of my decoupaged drawers, which hold all my treasures!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.03.48

In the front are notes on the basic tool kit, basic techniques and a recipe for homemade glue, while inspiring books and magazines, websites and paper artists and Australian supply sources are listed in the back. A relatively recent purchase, I look forward to making some of these projects! For more about Skye, see her website at: https://www.skyesthelimit.com.au/.

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining The Book by Jason Thompson 2010

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As an avid reader and book collector, I am in two minds about Altered Books, sometimes known as bibliovandalism, or indeed using books as a material for any paper project! My feelings are  a bit akin to the same thoughts I have about tearing colour-plates out of old vintage books and framing them as separate pictures!

Nevertheless, I still have a sneaky admiration for artworks created from old books and given the huge numbers of books, which might otherwise be tossed in the dump, especially during our love affair and transition to the digital world, it is a way of recycling them and giving them a second life. Here are some photos of the recycled paper objects I own: a flower and bird made from old music scores and wrapped pencils.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.32.45BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.34.11BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.33.27The introductory pages describe:

Materials: Adhesives, tapes and cutting tools;

Basic Techniques: Laminating; papier-mâché; decoupage; folding books; rolling and beading;

Anatomy of the Book; and Sources of Books.

After the introduction, there are instructions for 28 projects, including:

Gift Boxes, Gift Wrapping Paper, Ribbons and Bows, Gift Tags, Cards, Postcards and Letters;

Book Bags, Pocket Books, Business Card Holders and Book Jacket Wallets;

Paper Houses; Beads; Necklaces,  Flowers and Wreaths;

Coasters;

Pencil Holders and Woven Basket Cases;

Ornaments and Mobiles;

Papier-mâché Mushrooms and Birds;

And Sculptured Apples, though I own a Paper Pear.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 08.36.15 The final section of the book showcases the profiles and work of a number of Paper Artists, Some of my favourites are:

Nicholas Jones: http://www.bibliopath.org/;

Su Blackwell: https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Brian Dettmer: http://briandettmer.com/;

Guy Laramee: http://www.guylaramee.com/ and http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/05/magnificent-new-carved-book-landscapes-and-architecture-by-guy-laramee/;

Jennifer Khoshmin: http://www.jenkhoshbin.com/;

Kelly Murray: https://mymodernmet.com/kelly-murray-jolis-paons-paper-dress/;  and

Tracey Bush: http://www.traceybush.com/home.

Papier- mâché and Paper Pulping

Paper into Pots And Other Fun Objects: Using Hand-made Recycled Paper And Papier- mâché  Techniques by Gerry Copp 1994

Papier-mâché is the ultimate recycling technique. It differs to sculpting with paper pulp in that it is a laminating technique, in which layers of torn pasted paper are slowly built up on a mould to create the object, where as with paper pulping, paper is shredded, soaked, blended and combined with wallpaper paste, then pressed or shaped over a mould. I love the papier-mâché dragon, which my youngest daughter made at school.BlogPaperPost2518-02-25 12.20.09The author discusses both  the layering and pulp methods to cast from a mould and create a base, as well as making colourful handmade paper for creating surface pattern. There are some beautiful projects in this inspiring book, including bowls, goblets, jewellery, mirrors and frames, clocks and boxes and sculptures.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.43.09

Hand-Made Paper Making

Finally, a book on making handmade paper itself !

Handmade Papermaking For Beginners by Kayes Van Bodegraven 1977/1981BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.43.37

I bought this book and my mould and deckle after a hobby course in handmade paper making during my university studies. It was great fun and very satisfying turning recycled waste paper into new handmade paper. We used an attachment to an electric drill to create paper pulp, then used a mould and deckle to collect and sieve the paper pulp out of the water to form a thin wet layer of paper, which is then dried.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 09.44.16

We learnt how to emboss the paper and create watermarks, as well as incorporate other natural fibres or confetti to decorate the surface.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.50 My only reservation was the texture created by the chux superwipes we used between the papers!BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.34.59 Here are more photos of some of the papers I made.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.33.05BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.31.17In his book, Kayes discusses the history of papermaking; the raw materials required; how to make the pulp; using a mould and deckle and pressing and drying the paper; embossing and incorporating other fibres; polishing paper; watermarks; paper absorbency; paper sizes, making envelopes (see photo of envelope moulds below); testing paper for wood components; and care of equipment, as well as including a glossary of papermaking terms.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.12.00Next week, it’s back to our monthly feature plants with a post on one of my favourite plants: Dianthus.

Books on Papercraft: Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage

The art of papercraft originated in China, where paper was invented in 105 AD and encompasses a huge variety of forms from papercutting and silhouettes to collage and découpage, card and book making, quilling, altered books, origami and paperfolding, making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, papier-mâché and even handmade papermaking itself. This enormous diversity, coupled with the relative cheapness of and the sheer beauty of  the materials themselves, makes it a very popular art form with many people, including myself, so I possess a number of general and specific paper-oriented books in my craft library, which I have divided into two posts:

Part One: General Papercraft; Papercutting and Silhouettes; and Découpage; and

Part Two: Origami and Paperfolding; Making models/ flowers/ toys and decorations, Papier-mâché and Papermaking.

Please note both spellings: papercutting and paper cutting are used to describe this artform. In this post, I have tended to use the same spelling as used in each book on the subject.

Below is a photo of some of the beautiful textured papers available these days for papercraft! They inspire one to start making paper projects immediately!BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.11.20General Papercraft

A Complete Guide to Papercraft by Carson Ritchie 1978

This fascinating small guide traces the History of Papercrafts from Chinese, Turkish and European papercuts;  Victorian silhouettes and Mary Delaney’s floral collages to model theatres and paper sculpture. The author covers paper types and storage; tools (scissors, craft knives; punches; tweezers; rulers, set squares, compasses and brushes); and adhesives and paints in his chapter on Studio, Materials and Equipment.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.08.52Our first experiences with paper occur in childhood and Chapter Three describes a variety of Paper Toys, which you may remember: Thaumatropes (spinning pictures); Swingers and Spinners; Pantins ( with movable limbs) like the Paper Owl, which my daughter sent me from Germany, in the photo below; Trick and Illusion Pictures, including Three Way Pictures; Shadowgraphs; Pop-Up Books; and Peep Shows.

Next is a series of chapters dedicated to describing specific papercrafts in more detail:

Silhouettes ; Chinese Papercuts; Western Papercuts, which are totally different to the Chinese forms, in that they are usually symmetrical and often multi-coloured, including French Découpage and Polish Wycinanki; and Collage (Assemblages: Montages and Gravure Assemblages; Tinsel Prints; Flower Mosaics and miniature Amelias; Found Paper Collages) and Stamping.

Further chapters feature: Pin Prick; Quilling (or Rolled Paper Craft); and Tole (3-D Papercraft) eg Peep Shows; Model Theatres and Shadow Boxes.

The final chapter discusses Specialised Techniques like Paper Dyeing; Marbling; Gilding; Paper Tearing; Frottage; Paper Sculpture and Models; and Stencil Work.

While being an old book now, it is an excellent introduction to papercraft, with clear instructions, black-and-white photographs and diagrams and lots of inspiration for further exploration! It is also valuable as a guide to older, more historical techniques.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.37.50

The New Encyclopaedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown 2011

This more modern guide to papercraft is more extensive in the range of paper crafts it describes, as well as having colour photographs; examples by contemporary  paper artists; and more detailed step-by-step instructions for specific projects.

After an introduction covering the different kinds of papers for each technique and a discussion of paper weight and grain, the book is divided into 11 units, each containing a brief history, a description of paper types and materials required, specific methods and variations, examples of each technique in the artwork of contemporary artists and a project to practice the technique. They include:

Origami: Symbols; Basic Folds; Geometric Divisions; Bases; Decorative/ Functional/ Modular and Action Designs. Projects include: Cranes; Iris; Balloon; Boat; Butterflies; Snails; Egg Stand; Picture Frame; Antiprisms; Flapping Bird and Hungry Crow. Below is a photo of some paper cranes, which I made from this book, as a practice run for the paper crane mobile, which I describe in my post next week.BlogPaperPost2514-03-22 09.08.25

Pop-Ups: Incised; Multi-Pieced; and Boxes. Project: Pop-Up Spider Card;

Paper Sculpture: Cones and Cylinders; Decorative Forms; Assembly and Armatures. Project: Owl;

Bookbinding: Book Block; Hard and Soft Covers; Single Section/ Multi-Section/ and Stab Binding; Project: Concertina Book;

Quilling: Shapes; Applications: Flowers; Combining Elements; and Glueing. Project: Keepsake Box;

Weaving: Designs: Plain/Irregular/Tumbling Block and 3-D. Project: Woven Paper Bowl;

Papercutting: Techniques: Symmetrical Cutting; Detailed Shapes; Layering; and Shadow Silhouetting. Project: Paper Cut Window Hanging;

Collage: Cutting and Pasting; Composition; and Overlayering. Project: Painted Paper Collage;

Papier-mâché: Casting From Found/ Modelling Clay and Plaster Moulds; Decorative Ideas: Sealing with Primer; Varnishes; Texture; and Gold Leaf;

Paper Pulping: Preparing Pulp; Applications: Using Cardboard Base; Casting a Plate; or Using Other Moulds; and even…

Paper-Making: Making Pulp: Recycled Paper; Plant Fibre; and Pulp Pigmentation; Making Paper: Couching Pad; Pulling a Sheet; and Couching; Pressing and Drying; and Decorative Techniques: Embedding: Laminating and Inclusions; Embossing and Painting with Pulp; and finally, Papermaking Recipes: Recycled Paper Samplers; Paper from Home; Pigmenting Papers; Embedding (Laminating and Inclusions); Embosssing; Painting with Pulp; and Plant Pulps, including grass and carrot tops!BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.37.37Papercutting and Silhouettes

I have always loved the look of papercutting, ever since we were introduced to this ancient craft in the early 1990s by the exquisite art works of Brigitte Stoddart, a number of which we bought during our time in Tasmania. I love her symmetry, intricate fine detail, her traditional style, heavily influenced by Polish, German and French papercutting, with its distinctive Australian flavour and her portrayal of the innocence of childhood, as can be seen in the photo below.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.23.43Brigitte used a scalpel and small scissors to cut her design from a single piece of black acid fast paper, occasionally using coloured paper behind the black and then, she, her husband and two daughters would each take a corner and very carefully lay it flat on the glued surface of the mount! Such painstakingly precise work requiring so much patience! I adored her papercut of the three children, who mirrored the interests of and thus represented our three children, who were at a similar age at the time of purchase.

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Brigitte’s papercut designs are also featured in a book we bought for our children:  Okra and Acacia: The Story of the Wattle Pattern Plate by Libby Hathorn  2002.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 09.38.03While I could not find much of an online presence, she does have some work on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/236698379/boxed-set-of-8-papercut-print-cards, which we also own and which show some of her coloured work.BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.20.50She has also written her own book on the subject: Papercutting 1973, unfortunately now out-of-print, but available at: https://www.amazon.com/Papercutting-Brigitte-Stoddart/dp/0800862473.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 11.21.24

The photos above and below are some more of her cards, which we also own:BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.19.40Other  contemporary artists are featured in my first book on this subject:

Paper Cutting: Contemporary Artists; Timeless Craft Compiled by Laura Heyenga 2011

Paper cutting started in China after 600 CE and was used to decorate doors and windows with assymetrical designs of animals; flowers; landscapes and narratives. It really developed as an art form in Japan’s Edo period (1615-1868), with symmetrical mon kiri, as well as in 11th century Turkey, where it was used to create shadow theatres. It was also practised in Poland (Wycinanki), Germany (Scherenschnitte); Holland (Knippen) and Switzerland (Marques) and is closely related to art of Silhouettes, popular in the 17th and 18th century.

It has experienced a revival worldwide with the work of the contemporary artists showcased in this lovely book, with their biographies in the back. While all of them are amazing, my particular favourites include:

Peter Callesen http://www.petercallesen.com/;

Heather Moore https://skinnylaminx.com/2008/02/12/a-cut-tut/ and http://www.molliemakes.com/interview-2/mollie-makes-meets-heather-moore-of-skinny-laminx/;

Nicky McClure http://nikkimcclure.com/;

Su Blackwell  https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/;

Cindy Ferguson  http://papercutting.blogspot.com.au/ and http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/newsletters/volume48.pdf;

Helen Musselwhite http://helenmusselwhite.com/;

Rob Ryan http://robryanstudio.com/;

Beatrice Coron http://www.beatricecoron.com/;

Emily Hogarth http://emilyhogarth.com/;      and

Elsa Mora http://www.elsamora.net/  (current website )and http://elsita.typepad.com/elsita/papercuts-by-elsa-mora.html (older work).

Other excellent sites about paper cutting by Elsa Mora  include: http://www.allaboutpapercutting.com/;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/planetelsita/sets/72157665847183751/with/25758401536/ and

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/11/cut-paper-sculptures-and-illustrations-by-elsa-mora/.

BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.12While this book and websites are so inspirational, it is also good to have some practical how-to guides on the subject and I have four suggestions for you:

Cut Paper Silhouettes and Stencils: An Instruction Book by Christian Rubi 1970

Featuring many traditional designs, floral motifs, woven designs, beautiful silhouettes and stencil designs, this lovely old book provides patterns and instructions for papercutting designs to be used for door plates and knockers; coats of arms; covers and opening pages of books and photo albums; invitations, letter paper and cards; invoices, bequests and birth certificates; and calligraphy; as well as information on sharpening mat knives; the principles of silhouette composition; and making, transferring and fixing stencils, preparing transparent glazes, stencil paintings, multi-coloured stencils and  using letters and numerals.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.25

I love the unusual designs and sense of history conveyed by this book. Below is a photo of one of the intricate designs I drew from this book.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.38.40The Craft of Paper Cutting by Angelika Hahn 1996

More modern in feel, this simple little book discusses the History, Materials and Basic Skills, including :

Cutting from Folded Paper;

Medallion Cuts;

Repeat-Pattern Cuts;

Negative Paper Cutting;

Silhouette Cuts; and

Framing.

It also features a Gallery of Paper Cuts with Designs for Children; Fairy Tales; Circus and Theatre; Impressions of Nature; City and Countryside; Famous Heads; People at Work; On Land and Water; Festivals; Chinese Paper Cuts; Romance; Ornamental Patterns, including rosettes, brooches and borders; Contemporary Paper Cuts; Miniatures and the Animal World.

In the back of the book are over 100 designs to trace and cut to make life easy!BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.11Silhouettes by Sharyn Sowell 2009

Another excellent guide covering the Basics: Tools; Supplies; Getting Started; Design Basics; and Mounting and Making Silhouettes, using four simple methods: Casting a Shadow; Using a Digital Camera; Cutting or Drawing Your Own Freehand Design and Using Pre-exisiting Patterns.

The rest of the book contains 88 patterns and instructions for 24 projects, including: Cushion covers, lampshades and curtains; Napkin rings, place mats and coasters; Clock faces, storage jars and serving trays; Coat hooks and chalkboards; Wall and shelf friezes; Artworks and photo mats; Storage boxes; Cards and ribbon; Book pages and travel logs; Office décor; and even, Christmas ornaments. It is a great book for ideas for using silhouette designs.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.17And finally, the newest addition to my craft library concerning this subject:

Cut Up This Book: Special Occasions: Step-by-Step Instruction for Festive Occasions, Invitations and More by Emily Hogarth 2013

Written by one of my favourite contemporary artists featured in my first book on this topic, this book is also the most comprehensive, covering basic techniques, projects and 60 templates on patterned paper to be cut up, as the title implies, or photocopied for repeated use!

The first section, Getting Started, introduces basic concepts, with photographs demonstrating technique and diagrams, which illustrate important points, key skills and common pitfalls. They include:

Essential tools and useful extras;

Choosing paper;

Cutting with a craft knife or scissors: Cutting techniques, changing blades and safety tips;

Cutting multiples: Accordion folding; and stacking techniques;

Transferring templates;

Single and multi-fold designs;

Scoring and indenting;

Layering and intercutting;

Thinking backward– especially important when cutting letters and numbers or doing directional designs;

Colour;  and

Themed motifs.

There are step-by-step instructions with photographs and templates for 25 projects, with boxes indicating tool kit, materials and templates; symbols for skill level ; graphics identifying the trickiest areas to cut or take special care; and tips, variations and finishing touches.

Projects include: Invitations, cards and gift tags; gift and favour bags; Hanging, window and table decorations, party garlands and pin wheels; Lanterns; Paper wreaths and corsages; Napkin holders, place mats, coasters and place cards; Food flags and cake toppers and wrappers; and Dress-up props, birthday buttons and hair bands. There are some lovely designs and I particularly look forward to making some of the cards and the window, pompom and rosette decorations.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.31

Collage and Découpage

A talented exponent of collage was Mary Delaney, who I have already mentioned in two  previous posts: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2017/04/18/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-one-inspiring-books-and-garden-travel-books/.

I love her work and would love to own one of her books one day, but in the meantime, her images can be appreciated on:

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany;

And   http://littlegreennotebook.com/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html/. As I describe in my posts, I have used her work to inspire my own paper collage floral cards.BlogPaperPost2013-06-26 18.18.25During my embroidery studies, we had to make paper collages as preliminary studies for embroidery designs like the work featured in the photos below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.15BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.48.27 Here is another photograph of my paper collages.BlogPaperPost2518-02-18 11.46.43

However, I do own two books on Découpage, a specialised form of papercutting, used to decorate the surfaces of objects with printed scraps of paper, like the hat box in the photographs below.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.38BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.17.17 Découpage originated in France, the name being the French word meaning ‘to cut out’, and was very popular in the Victorian Era with prints of seaside holidays, angels, children and flowers covering screens, photo frames and jewellery boxes.BlogPaperPost2518-02-17 11.16.52 Used today, it gives objects an old-fashioned feel and I have two books, both based on fairies, another popular theme in the 18th century.

Nerida Singleton’s Découpage Fairies Project Book, Featuring Peg Maltby’s Fairy Images 1995

Using a specified découpage kit and the delightful colourful images created by Peg Maltby and reproduced in this book on glossy paper, Nerida gives detailed instructions for a variety of projects, including boxes, letter holders, pencil holders and albums, to illustrate the basic principles of proper surface preparation; background colour; sealing; cutting and placing; glueing the fairy images; trimming, tidying and repairing; gilding the edges; varnishing (using water-based and oil-based varnishes) and sanding; painting faux linings; and finishing with beeswax or micro mesh.

Peg Maltby (1899-1984), born Agnes Newberry Orchard in Ashby-de-la-Zouche, UK, in 1899, studied at engineering college in England, before marrying George Bradley Maltby in 1917 and having four children. They migrated to Victoria, Australia, in 1924. While living in Coburg during the Great Depression, Maltby supplemented the family income by painting commercial items such as chocolate box lids and birthday cards. She became a member of the Victorian Artists’ Society and had some successful exhibitions of her fairy paintings. She also illustrated a number of children’s books, including: Nutchen of the Forest; Meet Mr Cobbledick; Nursery Rhymes; Pip and Pepita; Ben and Bella; and

 Peg’s Fairy Book by Peg Maltby 1944, which can be viewed at :  http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-2600932/view?partId=nla.obj-2656867#page/n0/mode/1up.

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The Flower Fairies Découpage Book  Based on the Original Flower Fairies Books by Cicely Mary Barker 1997

A similar book with a similar subject matter, whose  illustrations and style I personally prefer, having been reared on her books in my early childhood. While some of the projects are the same, there are also a number of different projects in this book.

Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was also born in England at a similar time to Peg Maltby and published her first flower fairy book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, in 1923. She painted in watercolours from life, using plant specimens from Kew Gardens and modelling the fairies on the children at her sister’s nursery school. Primary influences included Kate Greenaway and the Pre-Raphaelites.

In this book, there is a wide selection of her images, reproduced on glossy paper, for cutting out and step-by-step instructions for 10 projects, including: Letter racks and pencil holders and pencils; Photograph album and photo frame; Dressing table set (hand mirror, comb, hair clip and powder compact); Decorative fan; Lampshade; Name plates for bedroom doors; Jewellery box; Biscuit tin and tray; and a wall clock.BlogPaperPost3018-02-17 09.39.45

There are also a number of books of papers, specifically designed for use in découpage:  BlogPaperPost4018-02-17 11.08.41Next week, I will be describing origami and paper folding; paper toys, models and decorations; and papier-mâché and papermaking.

Happy Christmas!

Christmas has always been a very special time in our house, especially the lead up in the month beforehand, with all the food preparation, gift making and present wrapping!

I have already written posts about :

  • Desserts for Pre-Christmas work parties : The Sweet Spot (October)
  • Christmas Cake and Pudding (November)
  • Christmas Drinks and Nibbles (December)

I much prefer to think about Christmas gifts well in advance, so there is no panic closer to the day, when the shops get so busy and crowded and choosing gifts becomes very stressful!!! If time allows, it is a wonderful opportunity to use all those craft skills and, at the same time, make so many people very happy! Home-made presents are THE BEST and are appreciated long after their store-bought equivalents. The recipient not only appreciates the originality and sometimes quirkiness of your gift, but also the talent and skill involved and the sheer amount of time devoted to their production, while thinking about their recipient during the whole process! My family adore my embroidered cushion covers and I get much joy out of planning and executing their design, as well as admiring the finished product, and then seeing the joy and love they bring to their recipient!

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I made this cute Christmas bag for my daughter from a pattern in ‘Scandinavian Stitches‘ by Kajsa Wikman. See her blog on : http://syko.typepad.com/.

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I embroidered this cushion cover with rainforest birds for my husband’s birthday this year.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-29 16.34.36A Christmas tablemat for 2000!

I have loved all my children’s home-made gifts over the years and our house and lives have been enriched by all their wonderful creations! It is also a great way for children to develop their creative skills. Here are some great books with gift ideas :

‘The Good Gift Guide : Creative Gift Giving For All Occasions’ by Alison Pearl

‘The Good Gift Book : Ideal Presents For Every Occasion’ by Judy Hubbard

‘A Touch of Christmas : Easy To Make Stockings and Gifts’ by Pamela Allardice

‘Christmas Treats To Make and Give’ by Linda Collister

‘Homemade’ by Kay Fairfax

‘Creating Gourmet Gifts’ by Barbara Beckett

‘Aromatic Gifts : Scented Ideas From Kitchen and Garden’ by Stephanie Donaldson        and

‘Beautiful Homemade Presents’ by Juliet Bawden.

Gifts can be more intangible too : a massage, a song, a performance, an IOU promise. My daughters made this hand-painted Monopoly board and these delightful wooden coasters for past Christmas gifts. A friend made this delicious Christmas cookie decoration one year.BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.25.37BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-10-13 15.12.40BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.32.04I really enjoy making Christmas cards and Advent Calendars in late November, the latter to be opened from the 1st December on. The last few years, I have used folded blank card, stamps and ink pads to create much more personal (and far cheaper) cards! Alas, this year, because I worked right up until the last week, I had to resort to using commercial Christmas cards!

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There are so many different patterns for advent calendars from felt pockets with little treasures and sweets to this wonderful paper pocket Christmas Tree, which I made for our 2013 Christmas. Each pocket held a small gift or a rhyming clue to a treasure hunt for larger items, which could not fit in the pocket. The pattern came from ‘Folded Secrets : Paper Folding Projects: Book 4’ by Ruth Smith and is based on the old Chinese Needle Thread Pockets. You can order all 4 books from the author by emailing her at : eruthsmith@btinternet.com. For a quick view of them, see : http://purplemissus.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/happy-families.html

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It is also fun making Christmas decorations throughout December, then finally decorating the Christmas tree in the last 2 weeks! Some people do it in early December, especially if they own an artificial tree, but I much prefer fresh trees, which do not last the whole month well.

I love the scent and colour of traditional fir trees, which are often sold on the side of the road in the weeks up until Christmas. After the 1967 Tasmanian bush fires, which devastated the native forests, my parents planted a large number of these quick-growing evergreens along the fence line of our property, only to spend every future Christmas chasing off would-be Christmas Tree thieves as the trees grew to maturity!!!

For the last few years in the city, we bought our trees from the same supplier, who harvested them from their country property then sold them in their suburban driveway. We’d select a small, well-balanced tree, then place it in a tub of water within an old rusty family cream can (from dairying days), decorated with Christmas wrapping paper and a large red bow. I love this old photo from the early 1900s of my husband’s grandparents’ Christmas tree with all the toy animals underneath.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-29 16.33.46Back in the country, we would cut our own tree – maybe a feral cypress or a native she-oak (Casuarina) or even a gum tree (Eucalyptus). This year, we had hoped to purchase a Wollemi Pine in a pot, which we would keep outside during the year, then bring inside for Christmas until it grew too large. Wollemi pines are incredibly ancient and very special, as they were thought to be extinct until a small stand was discovered in 1994. See : http://www.wollemipine.com.

Alas, they were too exorbitant for us this year at $ 169 for a 150mm pot ( plus $14 for shipping and handling). I know we would probably recuperate the price after 3 to 5 years of buying ordinary cut Christmas trees, but you would have to be certain that the plant survived!!! Maybe when we’re rich and famous…!!! For those with disposable income, see : http://www.wollemipine.com/order.php

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It is always such fun decorating the Christmas tree with friends and family with all the old Christmas favourites, as well as a new purchase/ creation each year. After the baubles and ornaments, we drape the tree with tinsel, then last of all, the Christmas lights – so magical!!! Here are some photos of hand-made Christmas decorations: a simple, bright felt star for my eldest daughter’s first Christmas tree of her own; Christmas angels being made by my daughters : I made the middle angel, Caro the blonde angel and Jen, the angel with the dreadlocks!; I also made a beaded/ sequined and embroidered Christmas angel and pear one year.BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 004BlogCreativity120%Reszd2015-04-22 08.59.48 - CopyBloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.31.53BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-10-13 14.34.34We were a bit late putting up our ‘tree’ this year, but it was just as well as the weekend before Christmas we experienced 40 degree days! We now live on a corner block fringed with very old Cypress trees, so we cut 5 branches, which were extending into the lane way, then bound them together and put them in the old family cream can. I think it looks great and it’s hard to detect that it is not a complete tree! My daughter made a beautiful wreath with the trimmed branches as well (bottom photo).BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 20.26.16BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 21.38.59BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 19.28.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-19 18.26.23And finally, Christmas Eve has arrived! When we lived in the ‘Big Smoke’, we always use to enjoy making a special visit into the city to see the Christmas decorations.

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I loved the illumination of the Geelong Town Hall last year.BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2014-12-18 22.19.05And on the night of Christmas Eve, it was always worth doing the rounds of the neighbourhood to view all those outrageous Christmas decorations and lights. Some streets specialize in it!!!BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.51.01BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.22.36There were even still a few here in country Candelo! While the 3rd photo took the prize for effect, I must admit that I much prefer the simpler more discrete ones like the hammock shot (4th photo). Someone had even draped a large fir tee in their front yard with lights, which changed from green-and-blue to red-and-gold (5th and 6th photo)! A local farmer tied a big red bow round each of his fence posts, which looked really effective, though perhaps not so good at night-time! (1st and 2nd photo)BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-24 11.46.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-24 11.46.10BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.52.22BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.42.27BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.44.14BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2015-12-21 22.44.05It is always fun seeing everyone get into the Christmas spirit, including our old postman last year! We had a hilarious Christmas Eve a few years ago, when we came across a long line of ‘Father Christmases’,  university students on their way to the pub, who then very good-naturedly, carjacked us for a lift to said hotel!!! I think my daughter thought all her Christmases had come at once! We caught up to their companions and dropped them off, little realizing that one of them had lost his mobile phone in our car! Two suburbs later, we received a very sheepish phone call, asking us very politely if we would mind dropping their phone round to the hotel! So funny, though it did highlight how quickly a car can be hijacked!!!

BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 10.20.48BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-24 22.18.59This year here in Candelo, we were hijacked in a different fashion! I saw 3 Santas walking up the hill, only to have a large group of them materialize on our doorstep to sing us Christmas Carols, then we were bundled up and absorbed into the group, as we wended our way back up the hill to accost other suitable benefactors! My daughter grabbed her Santa hat and reindeer antlers, which she had bought for my neighbour’s handsome black labradors, whom she was to babysit over Christmas, but unfortunately not her camera, otherwise you would have had some classic shots of me in her  antlers with multicoloured flashing lights. It took me a while to realize that the faint Christmas jingle I kept hearing was also actually coming from  those same antlers!!! It probably would have been a bit dark for a decent photo anyway. We found it increasingly difficult to read the words by candlelight, so ‘Deck the Halls’ was very dodgy and thin in the verse singing, but voices swelled considerably in the ‘Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La, Fa-La-La’ chorus! We finished at the local bakery, where we were kindly given a fresh, warm sourdough loaf straight out of the oven and a lovely moist Christmas Cake, which we quickly wolfed down with French Champagne and tea back at my neighbour’s house. It was such a fun night and a great way to meet all the locals!

Father Christmas certainly gets around, as can be seen by these eye witness accounts on our drives to visit family interstate over the Christmas period!BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 013BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 043BloghappyXmas40%Reszddec 2010 073BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 072BloghappyXmas40%Reszdxmas 2009 071BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2014-12-14 08.13.18He is such a busy fellow and must get so exhausted with all his travels! We have a family tradition of writing Father Christmas notes to attach to our stockings. He would then have to reply in the wee wee hours of the morning in an increasingly illegible scrawl! Funny how he always knew what had transpired during the year! When the kids were little, we always used to visit him in the shopping mall, resulting in a wonderful family photographic record of the childhood years.

Every Christmas Eve, we would leave him a slice of Christmas, a beer and a carrot for his reindeer and in the morning, we would discover cake crumbs, the bottle drained and little bite-sized bits of carrot all over the garden.

The kids would be up so early on Christmas morning, excitedly opening their Christmas stockings or, in later years, sacks! After the stocking opening and a much-needed cup of tea, we took it in turns to open the gifts, which had accumulated under the tree in the previous 2 weeks and had suddenly swelled in number dramatically overnight. The youngest often had the job of finding each person’s gift, while Mum (usually) kept a note of ‘who gave what’ for later thank you correspondence.

After the last gift had been opened, the kids all gathered around the open window to yell at the top of their voices ‘Thank You Very Much, Father Christmas!’, a tradition carried through from my childhood!

Because everyone tends to nibble stocking fruit and sweets and are a bit exhausted by this stage, we often have a rest till mid-afternoon, then prepare for Christmas Dinner : a roast turkey with stuffing, a clove-studded ham, roast vegetables and the finale, the flaming Christmas Pudding! One year, when we had just moved over into a cottage built to lockup with no electricity, water or stove, the thought of preparing the traditional Christmas dinner overwhelmed me and it was so wonderful when my ‘kids’ (late teens by this stage) took over and bought 2 barbecued chickens and boiled up vegies over the camping gas stove – the most relaxing Christmas dinner we have ever had!BloghappyXmas40%ReszdIMG_9113BloghappyXmas40%Reszddecember2011 200

I love setting the Christmas table and organizing the flowers ! For a few years, we even made our own Christmas Crackers, complete with corny jokes!!! We will miss our dear Scampie this year!BloghappyXmas20%Reszd2012-12-25 11.00.35BloghappyXmas20%ReszdJens Xmas 2013 055

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Our old dog Scamp used to love Christmas!

I will leave you with a few photos of our iconic native flora and fauna. Happy Christmas and All our Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2016!!!

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A koala sitting in an old gum tree!
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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
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Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
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A pair of Pink Galahs
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A Pretty-faced Wallaby browsing a friend’s Bauhinias
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Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)
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Native Frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum)
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Rainbow Lorikeets at home for Christmas!
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Oliver, our resident King Parrot, also at home for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peony Poppy Heaven

Wow! What a season we are having! Another week of wonderful nitrogen-rich rain and 183 mm ( over 7 inches) for November so far!!! Not so good perhaps for the sodden blooms, but fantastic for the growth of new shrubs! We have also had an explosion in the snail population and have discovered all the leaks in the house.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-31 08.46.21BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 09.15.59Candelo Creek is full of water for once. The Silky Oaks are looking superb at the moment!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.28.43BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.06.45BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.06.19The red dahlia is spectacular and the gold dahlia is forming buds.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 09.18.14BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.48.45BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.34.54The NSW Christmas bush is turning red, while the bottlebrush is in full bloom. Lady’s Mantle holds her raindrops like jewels and the Tree Fern is sending out new spiral fronds.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.42.39BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.49.59BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.13.23BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.23.06The Acanthus and Convovulus are still beautiful. Blue Rosalie geranium blooms alongside the rose-scented geranium and the white lilies are in full bud.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-27 18.06.39BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.23.15BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-28 07.33.12BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-30 09.49.41BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.40.11The cornflowers have collapsed under the weight of their blooms and all the rain, so are now propped up with tomato stakes!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.48.27BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.40.54BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.17.03BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.12.52BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.48.15The Soho bed is looking so lush and bountiful!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.55.02BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 10.06.10BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.57.17BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.17.47The peony poppies are spectacular. I love everything about them – their winding buds, their luscious blooms, their colour, their artistic pods of future promise! The bees love them too!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 10.03.09BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 12.01.56BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.14.40BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 12.02.06BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.38.37BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.37.44BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 10.02.57BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 09.17.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.30.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 09.16.26The thyme carpet around the sundial is growing madly.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.58.57The David Austin roses in the Moon Bed are all blooming : Jude the Obscure (photos 1 and 2); Windermere (photos 3 and 4); Lucetta (photos 5 and 6);William Morris (photos 7 and 8);BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.33.01BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.32.26BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.32.54BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 15.45.25BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.40.39BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 12.01.11BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 12.00.44BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 12.00.52Copper Queen (gold) contrasts well with the mauve spires of the catmint and blue Salvia. The Children’s Rose (pink) is so generous with its blooms. In the shed garden, Maiden’s Blush (white) is finally blooming.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.39.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.39.23BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.57.46BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-11 15.37.27I love this time of year, as I can pick flowers for the house again!

  • A bouquet of wayward Cornflowers;
  • Fresh herbs : Parsley going to seed and Chocolate Mint, which badly needed pruning to allow the fresh shoots to come through;
  • Lolita (orange), Mr.Lincoln (red) and Children’s Rose (pink) with Catmint;
  • A smaller vase of divinely scented Mr Lincoln and Children’s Rose, again with Catmint;
  • A blowsy gold arrangement of Hybrid Teas : Copper Queen (gold) and Just Joey (salmon) and David Austins : Troilus (cream) and Golden Celebration (gold), contrasting with the mauve Catmint and blue Flowering Salvia.
  • And lastly, a photo of last week’s Acanthus, just to show you how long the blooms have lasted! Incredibly good value!!!

BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.22.16BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 17.13.06BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.16.34BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.15.26BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.20.31BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.21.53The major job this week was the installation of a new garden arch over the front gate onto the laneway. Our climbing Cecile Brunner is bounding ahead and desperately needed a supporting arch! We cleared heaps of ivy, then hammered in short star pickets to reinforce each leg of the arch. It is going to look wonderful when it is fully covered by this sweet little pink rose!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 17.05.31BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 17.16.35BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.12.23BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.12.56My daughter and her boyfriend are visiting this week on the first leg of their exciting Australian adventure. I can now finally reveal some of the projects I finished a few weeks ago in preparation for their arrival.Their combi van will be their home for the next year, so I made them a large cushion, based on a child’s map of Australia (since my daughter is a primary school teacher) and backed with a fabric with a vintage world map design (since they are both keen travellers!) By clicking on the photo below, see if you can find 13 plants, 31 animals (including 10 birds), 12 agricultural enterprises, 10 mining areas and 29 famous landmarks or events. There are 4 major rivers, 6 major rocks and mountains, 2 major rail routes, 7 capital cities (red dot), 29 major cities and regional towns (purple dot) and 4 special places (green or pink dot)!

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I also made them a travelogue from a pattern I found in a library book called : ‘Creating Paper Crafts’ by Labeena Ishaque. See : https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Creating_Papercrafts.html?id=TSmekEOelmsC&redir_esc=y. I covered it again with a child’s map of  Australia on the front and a world map on the back and included blank paper, tracing paper and graph paper. Because the holes all lined up differently, the pages needed recutting on the top edge and the end result certainly wasn’t perfect, but by the time the pages are full, any defects will be covered over, so I’m not unduly concerned! I also glued more maps on the inside of the covers.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-29 13.18.13BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-29 13.18.20BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-29 13.18.29BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-29 13.49.14Finally, I printed out hard copy of her travel blog so far and assembled it in a yellow folder. She writes so beautifully and her boyfriend’s photos are superb, so I look forward to following them on their adventures around our wonderful continent on https://exploreadventurediscover.wordpress.com/.

While I often like to make a complementing card, I could not have done better than these 2 Christmas cards, which I found in our local newsagent- both so perfect, I could not choose between them, so my daughter and her boyfriend will get one each!!!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 15.35.42BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 15.35.46Here are some photos of our intrepid travellers!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-15 10.00.03BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-15 12.19.52BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-15 12.18.15BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-15 10.00.12

We also had quite a few avian visitors

: a flock of pink galahs, feeding on the ripe Duranta berriesBlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 09.41.10BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 09.42.02: A magpie on the verandah, a mother magpie with her insistent starving baby and another very quiet magpie searching for worms in the fernery.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 09.30.09BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 09.30.37 - CopyBlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-12 13.24.15BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.06BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.37

: And a flock of Musk Lorikeets feasting in the Bottlebrush on our laneway.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.07.45BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.05.04BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.04.57

 

 

 

Late Summer

We started planning the garden in earnest in February : Looking away from the house to the bottom of the garden and facing east, a dominant circular decorative bed for the Soho roses and other ornamentals; a hedge of white deciduous shrubs to provide contrast to the colour of the Soho bed and screen off the more utility sections of the garden (but deciduous so they don’t shade the cutting garden behind during the Winter!) ; a central path extending the length of the garden and demarcated at either end by 2 green steel arches of climbing roses and clematis; 2 cutting gardens of bulbs and flowers either side of the central axis with a glasshouse on the northern edge; 2 vegetable gardens for vegies and berries with a compost bay on the shady side and finally a chook palace at the bottom of the garden beside the mulberry tree !Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-02-06 12.21.21Ross (my wonderful husband and Chief Gardener !) hoed a crop circle around the old sundial, given to us as a wedding present by my sister, to determine the placement of the Soho Bed , then we laid down old torn packing case cardboard to suppress the grass. The start of a new garden is always such an exciting time, full of dreams and great promise !Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-02-06 12.45.24Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-03-03 14.47.16It is so wonderful having free time again after the last 18 months working full-time on computers and even though the budget is very tight, it is great being able to garden, bake and sew again! We have resumed making our own no- knead bread and biscuits  and I made a lemon coconut heart- shaped cake and a special card for my love on Valentine’s Day. I decorated the cake with a single bloom of Chateau de Clos Vouget (1920), one of the three roses initially here. There is also a huge old yellow Banksia rose over the outdoor eating area and on the street-side  of the house is another climbing rose, as yet unidentified,  until  gets its first flower for the season.Blog Late Summer20%ReszdIMG_2767Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-02-27 13.46.46

I also assembled a treasure chest-of-drawers from Kaiser Craft papers to hold all my decorative embellishments for my future sewing projects.Blog Late Summer20%Reszd2015-01-31 15.56.30