Monthly Archives: September 2011


Never judge a book…

by its cover…

Well, heylo!

I have been busy making lots of little pouches for sketch books that I’ll be giving away, mainly as stocking stuffers this year. As part of a stash busting exercise, I have used remnants and other  bits to reduce the boxes and bags of stuff that are starting to fill up every corner of the house. I’ve bought a few sketch books but am making a couple with the BIA to personalise them and use some more stash up! Maybe you’ll see the pictures and be inspired to make a few yourself.

I like to have a sketchbook with me in my bags but don’t like to see the pages get crumpled and battered by the other rubbish I carry around. So, I keep them in little sleeves or pouches to protect them and to make them easily accessible for when I want to use them. Apparently, referring to certain scrapbooky-type things as Smash books is contentious (not that I’ve seen any over here) so I’m calling mine (tongue in cheek) Pash books (for passion) and they are most definitely sketching books!

This first sleeve is made from a fine hessian – I think it’s called Scrim but not sure now. The red heart is one I made last Christmas from salt dough. I have heaps of them left over and they make for pretty decorations and wrapping embellishments. Cheap as chips and easy as winking to make.

This one is from a coarser hessian – possibly called Burlap… I don’t know for sure! I just buy the stuff and by the time I get round to using it, details like where from, how much and what’s it called, are just lost like a thought rolling around in a foggy brain .. The flower is made from  thick felt.

It’s for this little notebook that was bought in UK from Smiths. So pretty…

All of the pouches are lined except for this one. The material is already lined (curtain fabric remnant) so I stitched three sides down then zig-zag stitched around them to prevent fraying. This pouch or pocket is for an A5 sketch book.

The book is from Reeves and is sold plain white to be decorated by the owner. The spiral binding is a great place to tuck a drawing pen inside.

More hessian…burlap… whatever! More beads and salt dough hearts. I extended the lining and turned it into a contrasting collar for this one. The trims are left over from other projects – both from standard haberdashers. You can’t see what the bottom trim is so well but it’s a length of gauzy/netty/organza-y stuff formed into roses. I used some to trim a T shirt neckline this summer.

This one is for a small spiral bound sketchbook by Daler Rowney.

More hessian, felted flowers, etc. The green tasseled material was upholstery trim that was sold for something like 50c for 2m in a clear out sale last year. Thought I’d never use it. Looks ok. I have more in a soft tangerine colour. Never used.

And finally, for now, anyway, a long one. No idea what this one will be used for. It just finished off the cuttings from the hessian. The white crocheted flower came from a T shirt I had a few years ago. It had several so before throwing it away, cut them all off. They come in very useful.


Cake Update

I made a third C cake. This one …ooooh! I substituted crystallised ginger, glace pineapple and cranberries for the candied peel. It’s had a good tipple of brandy and is wrapped up and put away for another week or so before its next tipple.



Talking of tipples… the saga of the cafetierres. I have been happily having a cafetierre of coffee most days. Then a steak knife got dropped inside it and made a puncture wound in the glass. Pyrex glass as well! So, bought a replacement. Used it  – all was well. No idea what happened to that one but went to use it another day and the bottom was cracked and leaking!

So bought one from a shopping centre some 30 mins drive away. This time, one with a 25 year guarantee! No glass! Got home and was unpacking the shopping – no cafetierre!  Had left it behind! A 30 minute drive back (tried ringing but kept getting voicemail) later and luckily, it was there – saved under the till! I appreciate my coffee all the more now!


Desk Job

Now onto my next project. I have bought an old school desk from a second hand shop. Really heavy duty – proper ex-school issue. Thick wood, tubular metal frame. It has an integral fold down bench seat. The desk is beautifully deep. The top surface has a groove and ink well pot for pens and liquid ink etc. It has minimal graffiti – nothing rude or naughty. Very nice condition. In all, a perfect makeover opportunity. I think I’ll sand it down and colourwash it then distress with crackle glaze. Do you know how easy that stuff is to make? I’ll see what proportions it takes then will write up the ‘recipe’ (such as it is) for you. Thinking about stencils as well, though. With the CR, I could make my own and really customise it… I just don’t know….

I can also make a nice cushion and matching padded back rest ( there’s a panel that goes across the back so I can lean back comfortably) so lots of things I could do with it. Really delighted to have it!

Anyway, I must get on. Have a good day and hope you’re happy.



Photoshop tutorials

Etching Effects in Photoshop

As requested, a booty tooty on how to create an etched effect in Photoshop following the post ‘from foodles to scroodles and . It’s free but you’ll need to register to download.

We have a golden morning here in Ireland and all the more special after the long spell of rain we’ve had. More than a week of moody skies and grumpy clouds (faces like thunder!) with galloping  gales charging the clouds around like wild horses.  Today, it’s all smiles and sunshine. The air is so fresh and lovely even forgotten dreams can breathe again. Beautiful.

I have yet one more rich fruit cake to make for the big day in December. I did make two but there’s always a need for some quality testing and the second one did get a very thorough testing… it was gorgeous. Why do the all the really lovely foods have to be so fattening?! I’ll be Fatty Dance Pants forever at this rate. Little pickers wear big knickers and all that.

Still got the pudding to make, using a proper round pudding mold. It’s hinged so it opens like a cockle shell and is perforated with lots of holes to let water and steam in and out (the mixture itself is contained in a muslim bag and something else, I seem to recall). Tried it last year and it was just a mess and totally inedible. Maybe I didn’t wrap the mixture securely enough and water got in… no idea. Sludgy mud pudding slop. I’ll go check Delia’s site and see if she has a recipe/method for the round mold. There’s a no nonsense lady who doesn’t let her puddings misbehave.

I got a Skype from a friend who was off to bed at 10.00 last night and signed off with ‘I’ll speak to you on the morrow’. I asked her if she had remembered to turn off the gas lighting or put the glow worms to bed thinking she was from the past or something… heheheh. We got silly and started quoting some of the titles from the Elizabethan love songs from Black Adder (The ‘Bob’ episode) … she finally signed off with  ‘Maybe I’ve got some hot sex madrigals in the middle of my tights’… guess that’s another tale and none of our business – hey nonny nonny!

Just got time to feed the harpies birds and be on my way out.

Speak laters!

Download the PDF here:

Free Etching Effect in PS Tutorial PDF


Photoshop tutorials

Wordle within you and without you

I think everybody knows about Wordle? If not, go to and find out about making ‘beautiful word clouds’ with it. I made this one yesterday after listening to the radio in the car. The station was playing a Beatles medley and ‘Within You and Without You’ from the Sergeant Pepper  album came on. It happens to be one of my favourite Beatles tracks, I love the sitar with the tablas and the very beautiful lyrics. Then later, when I was organising my bookmarks and saw the Wordle link I thought it would be nice to turn those lyrics into a wordcloud.

I saved it by Printing to PDF then was able to import it into PS, apply a pattern overlay on the wordcloud layer, emboss it a bit, then add a stroke to highlight and define the letterforms a little more dramatically. Anyway, give Wordle a go and see how easy it is to use and play with the settings to make something lovely for your blog or layouts.



Makey bakey Christmas cakey… rich, fruity, moist


It’s had a good couple of tablespoons of brandy (I poked it all over with a fine knitting needle then poured the brandy over). It smells lovely, it looks lovely. It’ll be wrapped up again in greaseproof paper then tin foil and unwrapped every week or so for a brandy tipple until it’s time to cover it with marzipan, probably early December but no later than a week before Christmas.


Download the PDF recipe here (free):

Makey Bakey Christmas Cakey

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