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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.

Inexpensive storage

Recycled textile industry tubes for improvised storage


For those of you who, like me, are often in a tizwoz about how and where to store all your crafting stuff, how about this storage idea for your knitting needles or paint brushes – or even rulers.

Purchase one of these rigid plastic (or carton) tubes – they are usually sold for storing and/or mailing documents and drawings. In my experience they are cheaper than many of the dedicated items sold for storing needles, and what’s more, they are long enough to store even the longest knitting needles.

Recycled textile industry tubes for improvised storage

If you are really into being eco-friendly, you will seek out discarded textile industry tubes for the same purpose. I have one about 130 cms long which I will be cutting into 2 or 3 sections to hold my long rulers. It has a wider diameter than the plastic tubes I mentioned previously – about 8 cms across. You don’t need to, but can of course decorate these tubes if you like.

Recycle pretty boxes

Recycled box covered with designer paper

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to know that every now and again you find a box – for instance – your hand cream was packaged in a pretty box – and you wish you could find an alternative use for it, even if only to put a small gift inside for someone’s birthday or seasonal gift. But more often than not the thought of attempting to cover it with pretty paper to hide the graphics for the original content puts you off right from the start.

What I do when I come across these boxes is, I carefully peel them apart and use them as templates. If the original carton is a little flimsy, just copy the outline onto some stiffer card, and draw dotted lines where the folds should go – and make notes to remind you how to put the box together and where the glued bits should be. Then when the need arises, I can use cardstock to create a personalised box, maybe adding my own graphics or stamped images or patterns in keeping with the item I want to put inside. For larger templates, it might be necessary to cut the original box into several pieces unless you have access to large cardstock where the whole template will fit comfortably. If you remember in time, it’s useful to take note of the dimensions of the finished box, and even to take a quick snap to remind you of what it looks like. Makes it easier if you are looking for the right size box for a gift at a future date.

A lot of my templates have been transferred onto bits of cardboard boxes and are all ‘filed’ in a ring binder with clear plastic ‘envelope’ pages. The box in the picture originally contained a set of 4 ceramic mugs.

Into card making?

Aluminium canister seals

If you are into card making or die-cutting of any sort, use these canister seals to sharpen up the cutting edges of your die-cutting tools. They are usually found on all sorts of food packaging –- those in the image came from a canister of dried milk, gravy granules and similar. With few exceptions, when you buy die-cutters or punches, hidden away in the instructions somewhere there will be a note telling you to sharpen up the blades by cutting aluminium. Not everyone has aluminium sheets to hand, so these aluminium canister seals are the perfect solution. Just keep them well out of reach of small children of course as they are very sharp, and even more so after they have been passed through punches and die-cutting machines.

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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