upcycled #4

I found a basket of old cups languishing in the sorting area of my local Red Cross shop. Each of them were without companion cups or saucers and one or two have small cracks and unlikely to be sold. I’ve now given six of them a new lease of life as pin cushions. Fun to make and they got the thumbs-up from the HQ visitors last week who had come to see what our craft group was up to.

The large orange pin cushion is filled with half a polystyrene ball and the rest with polyester toy filling. For additional stability I hot-glued a stone or two inside each base and the cushions were then hot-glued to the cup rims along with the trims.

upcycled #3

The first image shows lined snap pouches which use short lengths of metal tape measures to create the ‘snap’ closure. The circular purse was made from leftover scraps of fabric used to make a tote bag seen in the previous post. The pencil roll was made from curtain scraps and another table mat.



upcycled #2

Just some of the tote bags I’ve made for the British Red Cross craft group to sell. The patterns for the first and last ones shown I got from YouTube.


tote bag from duvet cover


tote bag from patterned fabric remnant


tote bags from worn out curtains


Japanese bag design for holding supplies while you knit


upcycled #1

In April I saw a sign outside my local British Red Cross shop asking for volunteers for an in-store craft/up-cycling group so I signed up. The aim of the group is to up-cycle items from goods which in their donated condition are not regarded as being suitable to sell. The group has met weekly for four weeks now and each week I’ve come home with an assortment of fabrics and ideas for things to make and as a result, my embroidery has been put aside (but only temporarily!).

Table mats, worn out curtains, and fabric scraps were used to create these pocket wall hangings. Plant canes were stitched to the back along the top edge to give stability.



where I’m at this week

An emery block was the next Home Sweet Home accessory to embroider and I did begin it but wasn’t happy with my stitching so I put it aside for a few days. That was weeks ago and I’m still not enthused enough about it to pick it up again. It’s not nagging at my conscience though since I didn’t set myself any completion deadlines for this project.

So, if I haven’t been embroidering, what have I been doing?

  • Watching YouTube videos and getting ideas for mixed media things (which may or may not come to fruition).
  • Trying not to be ‘precious’ about things I’ve sewn or made in the past and actually toss them if they’re not worth keeping or re-purpose them.
  • Properly reading and not just skimming through the content of books I have on design and colour and drawing, in the forlorn hope that some of it at least will finally stick.
  • Making a start on a fabric book
  • Joining a newly formed up-cycling group at a local charity shop. More on that as it evolves.


I made felt and wired fabric flowers a few years ago for my son and his partner’s coffee lounge but they were looking a tad sorry for themselves by last year so I put them in a bin liner, brought them home and tossed them onto the top of a bookcase. Two weeks ago I finally did something with some of them. Destined to be pages of a kind of reference book made of fabric for finished pieces of work as well as small samples that are currently randomly stored amongst fabric supplies.

Yes, I know that the fabrics in the first piece are not square with each otherĀ  – I was after a scrappy random look and yes, the stems are real twigs which will probably snap off in a book but it’s hanging on a wall at the moment, out of snapping danger and we have to experiment don’t we? The background in the second piece was painted a long time ago but why or with what kind of paint I don’t now remember. I free-motion stitched around the edge just to attach it to the stiff interfacing background.


yoga block cover

I bought a very firm yoga cushion at class this week but as it was just a rectangular block of compressed foam scraps, I wanted to make a cover for it. I used a kind of faggoting stitch on my sewing machine to join felt scraps to each other on a calico ground fabric and I think that was a better choice of stitch than the simple zig-zag stitch that was used to create a similar patchwork fabric for the twa dugs.



workbox #9 needlecase back

Today is the first day in almost a week that I’ve been able to access any embroidery as all the contents of my workroom had to be stored in another room while some major re-plastering followed by re-decoration was done. The workmen will be back again after the Easter break but I have been able to move most of my craft and sewing supplies back into my workroom and finished this imperfectly shaped and hitherto unknown species of blue flower which will be on the back of the needlecase.