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Textiles

DIY arty bag for kids or adults


I have really enjoyed doing a trial run for this carrying case as it brings back fond memories of when my daughter was small. She had one of these for those occasions when either we went visiting ‘adults’ or when we went to a restaurant where she preferred to doodle rather than eat. I reckon this idea saved a lot of restaurant tablecloths from getting scribbled on!

This sewing project is a bit more complex than most of the kits I have produced — it takes a bit more skill, though a novice stitcher will probably cope well enough if they take it slowly, one step at a time. If there is some help to hand, all the better.

Basically the kit consists of all the elements needed to produce a simple carrying case for some paper, some coloured pens and a few pencils. Of course, for the painter or sketcher, the spaces will be useful for the appropriate tools. All the pieces of printed cotton fabric and felt are pre-cut and labelled — you’ll find a zip for the pencil case; some yarn for the tassel, and if you ask at the time of purchase — either a cross-stitch chart or a set of felt letters to personalise the bag with the name of your choice.

For more details follow this link >>>

Some of the other colour choices as you can see in the gallery below.

Mamma Cool

As something a bit different, I have created this sweet little Afro-theme ornament. I just love her beaded dreadlocks and bright multi-strand bead necklace.

I have prepared about a dozen kits for anyone who might be interested in a simple sewing and crafting project. All the textiles used are original African printed cotton fabrics which have been recycled for these kits. Personally I associate black people with a vibrant and colourful cultural background, so I hope I have managed to capture this in this little doll.

Click to find listing on Etsy

Christmas elf & Miss Pumpkin


Might seem totally out of season right now, but oddly enough, these little kits are proving to be popular during this moment of ‘closure’ and uncertainty. Quite a few people have been turning to creative activities as a source of calm — even those who wouldn’t normally pick up a needle and thread, have taken on simple projects as an escape from distressing news and an uncertain future.
These little kits are ok for young stitchers too — maybe with a little help from someone more experienced, so if you want to know more, follow the link to my Etsy page for pricing details of the kit contents.

Click for Miss Pumpkin kit details >>>
Click for Christmas elf kit details >>>

Coffee pot sewing kit

At long last I have managed to add a couple more of these sewing kits to my Etsy store. This particular kit has been surprisingly popular — partly because of its simplicity that even a beginner can handle quite confidently, but also because of the mix of different elements and methods required to complete it.

Anyway, for those of you looking for a fun project — maybe even as a gift for someone — here’s the link to the Etsy listing…

Coffee cup project >>>

DIY emergency mask kit


Whilst my previous post giving details of the DIY mask template and tutorial download has been extremely popular, several people have shown interest in finding the materials for making the masks. It goes without saying that if you have some scraps at home to improvise your mask — old shirts for instance — that would be more than acceptable as a possible source of fabric, but on the other hand, you might prefer something a bit more interesting to cover your face with without having to purchase yards of elastic and textiles!

With that in mind, I have created kits for those of you who have no access to textile stores or haberdashers. Each kit contains material for two masks (minimum purchase), including the necessary elastic — and a copy of the template and tutorial. Easy to make either by hand or with a sewing machine. The cost shown for the listing (minimum purchase 2 pieces) also covers shipping to Europe and the USA. In the gallery below you can see all the fabrics available for the masks — all in printed cotton whilst the plain lining fabric (not shown) is naturally dyed and boiled cotton. Hover the images to see colour details or click for enlargement.

If you would prefer to purchase 2 ready-made masks, follow this link to my Etsy page. The same colour choices are available as in this dropdown list. Shipping times (free to EU and USA) will be lengthened by two days to allow for the production of your chosen masks.
Click here for Etsy >>>

Choose colours from dropdown list :
Elastic colour :

I must stress that these masks are NOT to be considered medical standard, but only for community use such as for shopping and social distancing in general.

Number of kits/masks available per fabric pattern:

  • Red & white check (3 kits)
  • Blue on blue floral (3 kits)
  • Grey with beige climber (3 kits)
  • Green paisley (2 kits)
  • Orange with random dots (1 only)
  • Light orange (3 kits)
  • Oriental fan (4 kits)
  • Navy with novelty fish (4 kits)
  • Pink Tyrol (1 only)
  • Green with white dots (2 kits)
  • Coral with black seedheads (3 kits)

DIY emergency mask template [English & Italian]

For the moment I don’t have a photo to post, but will get one organised soon.
Just thought it might be useful to have immediate access to this mask pattern and tutorial so that you can supply your friends and family with community masks as requested by numerous local authorities at the present time.

They are NOT medical masks, but are in keeping with local community activities such as shopping and recreation where it is important to keep our OWN droplet emissions from spreading when we cough or sneeze.

Feel free to download for your own needs. In the pdf file you will find a template and instructions to make the mask — including tips for down sizing for children.

Mask kit available for those who would like to make their own but have little or no access to the necessary materials for doing so. Click here for details

Versione italiana

Easter Bunny cross-stitch


A new one to add to the collection of freebie cross-stitch patterns and colour charts. Might be a bit late for this year, but you will certainly have plenty of time to get it all stitched up and ready for next.

Make protective masks

Making masks — whilst it is not possible to make and contribute homemade masks to medical staff, it is possible to make them for your local community where masks are hard to find. In some places (areas of northern Italy for example), people are obliged to wear them outdoors, so in the face of the shortage, homemade becomes a useful source.If you want to have a go, take a look at the two mask patterns Spoonflower is offering for free, both accompanied by a clear video tutorial on how to make them. Scroll down the Spoonflower web page to find the tutorials towards the bottom, along with the mask download links.

I must reiterate that these masks are NOT medical masks and are intended for community use only.

Click for free mask tutorials

Fat quarter drawstring bag

Fat quarter drawstring bag


Looking for things to do during isolation? Here’s a quick and easy idea for a fat quarter — or any textiles measuring at least 50cm x 50cm you have available to use — to make a drawstring bag to use for all manner of things. Here are just a few suggestions — a shoe bag, a grocery bag, a craft bag, maybe to hold your latest sewing or knitting project. The box corners are optional. Download the instructions here.

Isolation ideas

Just to put this post into context, we are in the middle of a pandemic, caused by the coronavirus, or more officially, COVID19. Without going into all the details of ‘how come’ — you will find plenty of that sort of information here, there and everywhere — I just want to say a few words about what the restrictions are doing to us socially.

First and foremost, one at a time, countries around the world are locking down with severe regulations about the movement of their population — and with the almost total block of air traffic in and out of the country. The situation at the present time is absolutely horrendous — yet again you’ll find details elsewhere covering this point — but what essentially it means for just regular folks, is that we are obliged to stay indoors at all times apart from essential outings to buy food or medicines.

This situation has inevitably had a global effect on people’s habits. With few exceptions, people are unable to work and are confined to their homes in search of something to fill their time usefully and/or creatively. There has been a surge of generosity on the part of many creatives/teachers and the like, who are offering free courses in all manner of creative activities both for kids and adults.

Geisha bookmark


But it must not be forgotten that many of these creatives are suddenly without paid work, and so a balance has to be found. For my part, I have included a number of freebies and tutorials here at Boho Shack, but have also opened up a page for inexpensive cross-stitch patterns and charts for immediate purchase and download. I will be adding more to both sections in the near future for those who might be interested.

My thoughts are with all those who find themselves stopped in the tracks of life, having to deal with something that very few of us, even in our wildest dreams (or nightmares in this case) could have imagined happening in our life time. Here in Venice the sun is shining which makes it even harder to stay indoors — but it must be done and we will do it.
As they say here ‘Andr√† tutto bene’, which basically means, ‘Everything will be alright’…

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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