Archive for April, 2011

{week 45} kumihimo

This week has been full of beautiful sunshine, sketching and crafting – and quite a bit of eating. If you’re interested in seeing what I’ve been up to, head over to my paper and cloth blog. Now, on with week 45…

Making kumihimo in the garden

Phiona (aka @RareNotions) challenged me this week to try a craft I’d never even heard of: Kumihimo.

Any idea what it is? After googling, I found out. Kumihimo is the Japanese craft – so many of my favourite crafts are Japanese aren’t they? – of braiding. The resultant braids are used as ties for jackets and obi – they were once used by samurai as a decorative way to lace their armour.


As I near the end of my 52 weeks I’m trying to save some money and not buy new equipment for every craft so I was keen to find a DIY alternative to the braiding disc recommended. Luckily, I found this great instructable which shows how to make a braiding disc from cardboard.

Armed with my disc and some embroidery thread (I bought a job lot years ago and it’s not the best quality so I’m really happy to have found a craft to use it up with!) I got going.

Once you’re into the rhythm it’s a really soothing and relaxing craft – perfect for doing outside while enjoying the sun or watching TV.

Crafting in the sun


1) Cut a circle out of sturdy carboard. Cut 8 slots in it and a hole in the middle.

2) Cut 7 lengths of thread (or yarn) – about finger-tips to elbow is enough for a friendship bracelet I think. I’m not one for measuring things.

3) Tie your threads together at one end. Put them through the hole in the card so the knot is just sitting inside. Slide one thread into each slot – make sure it’s all tight.

4) Turn the disc so the spare slot is at the top. Take the third thread from the spare (clockwise) over the top of the other two threads and put into the slot.

5) Turn the disc so the new spare slot is at the top – count three round to the right again and move that thread to the spare slot.

6) Keep going until you get the length you want. Video man says 20 minutes but it takes me longer than that. Although I am easily distracted.

7) Unhook all the thread and tie it off with a knot at the end of the braided thread. Tie another knot about a centimetre along. Cut of the excess thread. To close the bracelet, thread the knot from the starting end through the threads between the two finishing knots.

If any of the instructions are hard to follow, I highly recommend the video.

Have you tried kumihimo? What other uses have you found for the braids other than lacing your armour of course?


{week 44} metal embossing

The weather was lovely this weekend – beautiful blue skies and a warm Spring sun. But I always make time for craft, even if the sun is drawing me outside. This week I tried metal embossing.

Framed copper art

I love copper – it reminds me of sunsets. And of the fireplace we had in my childhood home.

Metal embossing is just like drawing, and very easy to do. You just need a sheet of copper, an embossing tool, and a pencil. The bowl was a Christmas present, isn’t it lovely?

All you need is copper and an embossing tool

I lightly drew the design on the copper (flowers of course, possibly the only thing I can draw!) and then went over the lines with the tool, pressing hard. And that is all there is to it. I managed to do a little shading with the tool (teeny tiny lines) and some dots to add texture.

You can cut the copper with scissors if you want to use smaller pieces – maybe as pendants or earrings? I like the look of my final piece framed.

Framed copper art

{week 43} dyeing eggs

Well Easter is coming and the bunny is getting fat… or something like that. So my mind has naturally turned to what crafty things I can make for the weekend where all diets are officially off. I decided that decorating eggs was the way to go – I love what Alisa Burke did to these eggs but I’ve already done doodling so I thought I’d give dyeing a go.

Naturally dyed easter eggs

I decided to use what I had to hand around the house to make the dyes – it was fun making the concoctions and conducting a chemistry experiment in my kitchen.

I used these instructions and I tried spinach, coffee, red cabbage and brown onion skins with varying results.

Spinach – the resulting liquid was barely yellow. I didn’t even bother using it. I think I needed to use a lot more spinach and boil it for longer.

Spinach dye = a fail

Coffee – no boiling required. The resultant eggs were a nice soft brown.

Red cabbage – the colour took a long time to develop on the eggs but when it did it was a pretty blue.

Red cabbage dye

Onion skins – my favourite result: a lovely orange.

Brown onion dye

I tried a couple of effects. On some I used wax crayon to draw designs to resist the wax. And I had a great result with masking tape on one of them too.

Naturally dyed easter eggs

Have you experimented with dyeing eggs naturally? How did you get on?

{week 42} paper flowers

Happy Mother’s Day to the UK mums. To celebrate I made these pretty flowers for the table today as I was cooking lunch for my mum and mother-in-law. We had blueberry cheesecake for dessert – it was so so so good. Recipe here if you want to try it. Anyway… on to the craft.

Paper flowers for Mother's Day

Karen suggested I try making paper flowers in the comments for my stamp making post. I got the general inspiration from this instructuable but I made mine a little differently as you can see from the photos. I followed the same basic steps – cut petals out of paper, screwed them up and shaped them into petals. I used old faithful mod podge to stick them together into flower shapes and a screwed up ball of paper for the centres. Then I used hot glue to stick them to twigs. A perfect Mother’s Day table display.

Are you ready for the close ups?

Close up Close ups10 weeks to go! Wow.

{week 41} decoupage

I made this on the same trip as the rubber stamp so I’m a little late posting it, I hope you forgive me. On the plus side it means you’ll be getting another crafty treat this weekend when I write up this week’s fun project.

I bought a plain letter C from Paper Source (my new favourite shop, how I wish there was one in the UK) and used mod podge (PVA will do just as nicely) and tore strips from the store’s paper bag to cover it. Could it be the easiest craft in the world? I think so.



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