Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I'm in deepest France with my Auntie for a little R+R before the travels begin on October 3rd. I'm starting with a stall at Greenwich Market in South East London - so if you're free this Saturday, then come along and say hello. I've tried to fill the stall as much as possible with things that I've made and customised - taking inspiration from finds in the local area. I came across this wonderful photo of children celebrating V day in a Greenwich junk shop and have transferred it onto T-shirts which I found in a Deptford charity branch. The T-shirts are just one of the things you can buy! Prices will be low (starting at £4.99 for a badge made of ribbon), but I need to sell enough to make the petrol money to take me onto my next port of call. So come and help if you can!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Make Do And Mend

Make Do And Mend books - they're everywhere! From John Lewis - to Top Shop of all places. Are teenagers really buying these things? It seems they're eating them up - alongside Stitch Your Own stationery and craft books. Also in this picture, a ration book sent to me by my Octagenarian friend Dorothy. It belonged to her brother who died at the age of 38. She wanted me to have it for my project.....he never used it.........


Exciting news - I'm covering my Make Your Way Around Britain trip for BBC 2's Newsnight. Watch out for the first film on October the 1st(fingers crossed!)

Button excavation in South East London

It's amazing what a box of buttons can reveal about its owner. Yesterday I was lucky enough to stumble upon a cardboard box stuffed with the spare buttons you get in little plastic packets alongside the clothes that you buy. Or at least, that's what you used to get. You might now find a spare sewn onto the inside of your purchased garment, but more often than not, you're left to your own devices when it comes to replacement fastenings thse days. It's a pain, given that most buttons are now sewn on so badly that you usually lose one the first time you put on your new shirt! The owner of these buttons seemed to shop almost exclusivly at Jaeger and Basler. And as I went throght the box it became clear that black and gilt far exceeded any other colour. A woman of expensive and classical taste perhaps? I popped the buttons from their packets as if I were shelling peas, and was pleased with my £5 haul. I also discovered that clothes used to be accompanied by small skeins of wool or thread for the sewing on of buttons and minor repairs. Some little packets contained spare squares of cloth too - evidence of our past attitude to making clothing last. When did we lose that determination to preserve and conserve?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Coming soon T-shirt Turban

I've been asked by The Guardian to submit a project for their craft section - so I've sent in my T-shirt turban, which you'll be able to see on-line at the end of September. It's SO simple to make. In just under an hour, you'll have yourself a very modish 1940's style hat.

Discussing the turban with a friend of mine, she asked whether I'd seen Grey Gardens - a film based on the eccentric story of an Aunt and first cousin of Jackie Onassis. Little Edie and Big Edie Bouvier Beale lived together in a rambling, crumbling pile in the East Hamptons - their inimitable style, unique relationship and slightly crazed existence becoming the focal point of the film. These head-scarf wearing, cat loving eccentrics revelled in the decadent decay they'd chosen to embrace. Thus whilst kitten shit may have encrusted the floors, they would skip over it dressed up to the nines! Whilst their titfer of choice was the headscarf rather than the turban, it's definitely a look they'd do. So get going with your turbans ladies. TRUE GLAMOUR NEVER FADES!

How to make plastic flowers

I've seen two great ideas for making plastic flowers recently. One in the Harvey Nichols window in Edinburgh - alongside the animals, and another in New York - in the Anthropologie window.

The New York flowers are made out of plastic drinks bottles. They've used the top bit of the bottle, chopped it off, and cut out petals which they've then bent backwards and sprayed into myriad colours. You wrap wire around the little round hole where you used to pour the drink from, and hey presto.

The Edinburgh method is to use those plastic rip fastners. Make a flower stem out of wire and finish it with a little loop. Attach lots of the rip fastners to the loop and again, sray them different colours. They'd look fantastic planted outside!

Carnival of the Animals

Window displays are full of brilliant ideas for using every-day objects in unusual ways - just look at these great creations in the Harvey Nichols shop in Edinburgh. All summer they've had wonderful windows full of incredible animals. If you look closely you'll see they've been made out of mundane materials. How about this adorable string monkey and a lively leopard pieced together from sawn-off blocks of wood. Incredibly beautiful and full of movement!