30 August 2014

This month I have been mostly...

Listening to:

This new album, From Scotland with Love, by King Creosote has been the soundtrack to my summer! It was released to coincide with the Commonwealth Games, as the soundtrack to a wonderful film made up of archive footage of Scotland. Although Kenny Anderson (King Creosote) is from this part of Scotland, I'd never actually listened to any of his music before this - and now I can't stop! It's got a wonderfully nostalgic feel to it, and has just the right mixture of melancholy and up-beat-ness.

I was on holiday from work for three weeks at the start of the month, and, since I didn't go away on holiday, I had lots of time to get on with DIY and craft projects, and had some day trips around and about.

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29 August 2014

Mini house

Continuing my week about jewellery storage and display, here's how to decorate a mini house with patterned papers. I often find these little houses for sale in £1 shops and charity shops, and if you can't find one you may be able to find a thimble house instead, which would also work for small pieces of jewellery like earrings and rings.
1. First decide whether to paint your house. I painted one white and left one plain.

2. Take a piece of patterned paper and lay it over one of the openings. Run your finger round it to mark the edge, and trim it to fit. Test if it fits, and trim a bit more if necessary. Do this for each opening, with different patterned papers in colours and patterns that work well together.
3. Use mod podge to stick the papers in the openings, and give them a coat of mod podge on top.

4. Finished! Now add your jewellery or some tiny ornaments.


I use one of these for keeping tiny ornaments in

This is a little square box I found, that works well for flat storage

I just painted this dark wood thimble holder with duck-egg blue paint, and added a button

28 August 2014

How to make a brooch frame

Continuing my jewellery display and storage week, here's an idea for both storing and displaying your brooches.

This idea is actually my mum's, and she made one for all the polymer clay brooches I made back in the 1980s. It was displayed just inside our front door, so it was easy to choose a brooch to wear when going out the door! A few years ago she made a couple more - one to display her collection of vintage jewellery by a Scottish company called Ceard, and one for me.

I decided that mine was due for a little makeover with new fabric, so now I can show you how to make one of your own.

This is what mine looked like before, with black fabric and a pine frame. It looked good, but I wanted a little change.

1. Discard the glass from your frame, but keep the frame and backing. I stained the frame with a couple of coats of brushing wax, to make it similar to some of the other wood in my hall.

 2. Cut something to use as a backing, the same size as the backing of the frame. My mum had used thin plastic, but you could use mountboard or cardboard - check it will be thin enough before sewing it all up, though!

3. Add a layer of wadding (you can glue this in place on the backing to stop it slipping).

4. Cut a piece of fabric that will cover the wadding and fold round the back of the backing.

5. Sew it in place with long stitches, making sure the fabric is taut. It doesn't need to be neat!

6. Put the frame back together, and have fun decorating it with all your brooches!
I think the new colours of the frame go well in my hall -  the grey is a more subtle colour than the black and looks better against the cream walls, and the wood of the frame matches the other wood perfectly.

27 August 2014

Hanging storage for jewellery

Today I'm going to show you some ideas for storing and displaying necklaces or bracelets, using inexpensive or thrifted items.
This tree was a cheap find at Ikea, and, although I use it mainly for display in my living room (it started off being used as a Christmas tree, and then I found other seasonal items to display on it through the year), it's also useful as a jewellery tree - in fact now I wish I'd got a white one as well!

Here's another Ikea item which was made as a Christmas ornament hanger, but is useful for hanging jewellery from. I found this in a charity shop, and am planning to give it a coat of spray paint. It's actually really large, so I will maybe use it for craft fairs rather than everyday jewellery storage, but here I'm showing what it looks like with some of my handmade jewellery.


A mug tree is something that you can pick up at pretty much any car boot sale or charity shop, and it's a great way of showing off your necklaces or bracelets. I like the simple design of this one.

I've picked up quite a few knob racks at car boot sales. These are my main way of displaying my necklaces, and I also use them for hanging up outfits for the next day. I've got about six of them around my bedroom! Hooks can also be used in a similar way to knob racks.
And finally, I just came up with this idea which I think is my favourite! I used a large Dala horse, which I got cheaply at Ikea because it was a discontinued item, and draped necklaces around it! If you don't have a Dala horse, you could use any large ornament or small sculpture in the same way, for example it would work with something like my pink geisha.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some ways of storing jewellery that are decorative as well as practical.

26 August 2014

Brooch cushion

This is jewellery storage and display week here on emuse, and today I'm showing you how to create a brooch cushion. It's a great way of showing off your brooches, pins, or badges.

1. Measure two squares of material, I made mine about 6 inches in size.
2. Place the right sides together and sew around three and a half sides.
3. Turn the right way out, and stuff with filling.
4. Fold the fabric in neatly at the opening, and sew closed, making sure to use a thread that matches the fabric.
You can make these in any size or colour you like, and it's fun to have the two sides different fabrics so you can turn it over for a different look. I like to keep one of mine in my bedroom with a mixture of brooches with sentimental meaning to me and some recent finds, and I'm planning to have the one I've just made near the door so I can quickly grab a brooch as I'm going out if I feel I need one!

25 August 2014

Thrifted and vintage jewellery storage

Hello and welcome to a week of posts about how to store and display your jewellery in interesting and beautiful ways! Today I'm starting off by showing how I use some of my thrifted and vintage items for jewellery storage.

Vintage and thrifted items are a really pretty and inexpensive way of storing your jewellery. You can use all sorts of items, including vintage jewellery boxes, vintage tins, cups and saucers, small dishes, glasses, and much more. Here are some of the things I use:
Thrifted and vintage cups and small dishes are a pretty way to store all kinds of jewellery

This little donkey dish, designed by Walter Bosse, 
was a recent lucky find at one of my local charity shops

This vintage jewellery box was also found in a charity shop.
I keep a lot of old sentimental items in it.

A cranberry glass cup from an antiques fair is a lovely way of storing some rings and brooches

This vintage tin belonged to one of my grans.
I use it for costume jewellery I don't wear at the moment but don't want to throw out.

Keep coming back for the rest of the week to see some tutorials for making items to store and display your jewellery!

24 August 2014

I love... retro!

As a child of the 1970s, I really love anything with a retro design, and this is just a random selection of photos I found on my computer with a retro theme - I'm sure this is a theme I will revisit in future with even more photos! Above is a cookbook I found in a charity shop, in fact I saw it in the window of a closed charity shop and had to go back another day when the shop was open! It reminds me of the packaging of the Pippa dolls that I collected.
This is a detail of an old poster at work, showing the formation of oil. I loved this particular shape, and would like to try making a piece of jewellery inspired by it.

 I couldn't resist taking a photo of this poster in Ikea, it's got such a retro feel to it!

This teapot was a recent find in a charity shop, and the yellow is just what I wanted to fit in with my kitchen makeover.

These are some books I rescued from being thrown out at work! The Book of Experiments was one I loved borrowing from the library as a child, so I was really pleased to find it, and the other one has photos of 60s architecture that reminds me of the school I attended and the one I work at.

These are two of my favourite childhood books, which I recently tracked down and bought online.

I really love my Viewmaster, which I found for a ridiculously cheap price at a charity sale, along with lots of the reels, including this one with some great old photos of Edinburgh.

This box was a find at an antiques fair, and the picture shows Seefeld which was a lovely village I visited in Austria.

I love the covers of these old sound effects LPs we have at work.


If you'd like to try a retro-inspired project, how about this 1970s felt pincushion.

23 August 2014

Vintage dress makeover

Mum and I were hooked on the TV series This Old Thing on Channel 4 recently, all about buying and wearing vintage. So I recruited Mum's help to refashion this vintage dress.

The dress is vintage Laura Ashley, and I bought it from Armstrong's in Edinburgh for only £12.50. Armstrong's is a brilliant shop, with three different branches in Edinburgh, all of which are well worth a visit. The label said that it was from the 1970s, but the dropped waist and puffy sleeves made me think more of the 1980s. It was the sort of dress I could have imagined Princess Diana wearing at that time.
I really should have taken a photo of the dress on me in its original form to show how it looked. The dropped waist and the length of the dress made it look seriously frumpy on me in its original form, but I could tell immediately that bringing the waist up would resolve both of these problems. But it was still a nerve-wracking moment when Mum took the scissors to it!

Once the dress had been cut into two pieces, I tried the top half on, and Mum looked at me and asked, "Have you thought of making it into a top and skirt?" to which I replied, "No, but I am now!" so we decided to do that. Mum did lots of work pinning, tacking and sewing, hemming the bottom edge of what was now a top, adding tucks and buttons at the end of the shortened sleeves, creating a waistband and buttonholes for the skirt, and sewing the skirt so it didn't flap open.

I've now got a really cool crop top that looks brilliant with skinny jeans, a skirt that will go with many items in my wardrobe (the fabric has so many colours in it that it will match almost anything!), and the option of wearing both together for a tea-dress look. I still have the fabric that was cut off the sleeves, so I'm planning to make a hairband or a flower brooch.

Now I need to clear some space in my wardrobe so I can go shopping for some more frumpy dresses to make over!