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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

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…

Follow this link to my Etsy store to purchase this kit

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

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

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 ‘Andrà tutto bene’, which basically means, ‘Everything will be alright’…

Pattern marker

Improvised cardboard pattern marker


Now I would like to say that this idea came straight out of my head, but in fact it didn’t. What is embarrassing is that I can’t remember where I saw this in the first place, so if anyone does know, I will be more than happy to give full credit to the blogger in question.

In fairness, it’s not as if the wheel was reinvented with this idea as I’m certain most knitters/crocheters use something to keep a tag on the pattern line as they work – for instance I always used a ruler – but this little instrument doesn’t slip and slide around so cuts out the frustration factor from the equation.

Just pick up a piece of cardboard or stiff card – about 10 cms wider than your pattern and about 10 cms deep – and laying the pattern vertically on top of the card, measure off about 1/4″ either side of it and then cut a line between your markings. You can now just neatly slide your pattern through the slit you created and slide the pattern upwards as you work, keeping the working line just visible above the cut in the card.

Pompoms galore tutorial

pompom-tutorial001If anyone is interested, I have just added a pompom tutorial – I have set it all up in a downloadable pdf file for you – free for the taking, and have fun with the pompoms – they are always such a cheerful addition to scarves and hats and sweaters for both children and adults alike.

You can pick up the pdf file for download by clicking on the link below …

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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Boho Shack Links

You can find me and my various creative activities through this set of links.