Wednesday, 9 June 2010

I am a crafty devil

Recently, on a weekend at my parents house, shortly before I left to drive home, I went out into the garden with a large hardback book (Physics for the Enquiring Mind, if you were wondering), some sheets of A4, and a pair of scissors. I proceeded to work my way around the garden, cutting off attractive leaves here, flower heads there, and pressing them all carefully in the book.

Mother came to check on what I was doing, and when I told her, she rolled her eyes. "I rather thought you'd have grown out of all this by now," she said. "You were always a begger for the cutting and sticking."

When I was a child my favourite toys weren't toys at all, but crafty things. Tubes of glue and glitter and stickers and scissors and coloured cardboard. Oh, I loved it! And she's right, I haven't grown out of it. I get new ideas for sticking things and sewing and cutting all the time, and rarely get the time to put them into practice. The pressed flowers are for some greetings cards that I want to make for an arty event later in the year, but I've not yet got out the card to see what I've got supplies of.

I've also got designs on some little mother-of-pearl buttons at the moment, that I'd like to turn into some kind of door hangings, and of course, I always have loads of jewellery to make up. Oh, there's just so much to do!

But a while ago, the lovely Gillian taught me a new technique that I spent some time on at the crafting event that we ran last weekend. It's compelling and wonderful, and I challenge you, once you know what it is, not to try it yourself.

What you do is this: Take plastic carrier bags, cut them to make a design or pattern or picture, and lay it out, as you want it to be, on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Lay another sheet of greaseproof paper over the top, and iron the lot (quite a cool iron, all over, but not letting it sit too long anywhere. Like when you're ironing your delicates). Now, this is important ... don't try it without the greaseproof paper under and over the bags. Otherwise you'll end up with carrier bag melted onto your ironing board, or your iron, or both. Trust me. It doesn't come off!

The whole lot melts slightly and fuses together. No glue or tape or pins. Just plastic and heat. It's marvellous! And VERY addictive!

At the weekend, the kids who were trying their hand at it were largely producing pictures of flowers (primarily because that was one of the examples that we made up in advance, I suspect), but we've also tried weaving two colours together to make a sort of matting. Here's the thing though - you could, in theory, make ANYTHING! Gillian told of a lady who'd made herself a rain mac. Could be myth, but has the potential to be true, and it's this potential that MAKES ME WANT TO TRY IT!

In the mean time, I think that I'll satisfy myself with making some bunting for the front of the house (Sainsbury's orange flags ironed onto an Ocado purple cord, I think). But the sky's the limit!

And whilst you're ironing yourself some bags, you can give some thought to the punchline to my competition joke from Monday's post. Come along now. Don't be shy!


  1. You've really taken me back here to my childhood. Lots of cutting and sticking things. Really like the idea of the plastic bags if I knew what I'd done with the iron. I'm not very domesticated!

  2. I'm hoping you'll be rustling up a whole outfit for Ascot... I can see you on the front of the Independent in my mind already!

  3. ooohh, just had a thought as I was reading this. If you have pressed flowers, and clear plastic bags, can you fuse the flowers between them to make really pretty flowery bunting... I want to try this now!


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