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March 2010
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May 2010

Mr Owl: carved paper sculpture tutorial


These eyes have been staring up at me from the recycling bin for the longest time; I've finally attached a body to them.

 Mr Owl was so easy and fun to make I'm now hoarding egg cartons. Egg cartons have such an uneven, sculptural texture that cutting them feels more like carving. I think adults and children alike would enjoy making these owls and it's simple to alter the cutting to make each one unique.

Paint or paper scraps could also be applied to these. I'm picturing a trio painted black with larger feather flaps and votive candles shining through for Halloween. 

To make Mr Owl you simply need:


  • egg carton (I used a 6 egg carton but a 12 egg carton could be cut in half)
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • craft knife (optional)
  • craft glue


Using pencil, draw two shapes from the bottom side of the carton for, 1. the eyes and beak and 2. the ear/feather tufts that go above and behind the eyes and beak. Then cut them out with scissors. 
On one end of the top of the carton, draw a shape sort of like this; then cut the shape out (the head will slot in that section.) When your head is ready, you may need to add a couple of vertical cuts to firmly slot it into the body (see vertical cuts under the beak in the finished, yellow owl picture at the top of the page.)

Next, on the other end of the lid, draw some feet and cut out the section under the feet. Draw in some "U" shaped feathers and use a craft knife to cut around them (probably not a job for young children.) Then bend in the bottom of each side of the lid on a diagonal. The dotted line above indicates where you should bend the carton.

Cut feather shapes around the eyes of your owl if you wish. I cut slits and points and curved them under to give a feather appearance around the eyes. Do the same or create your own eye design. Then cut and gently shape the beak. 

Glue the ear piece behind the eyes. A piece of tape will help hold it in position while it dries.

When it's dry slot it in place on top of the owl body.


I'd love to know if you give these a go :)


We're still seeing our Little Owl friend nearly everyday when we return home from school. He's inspired this and more upcoming projects. Maybe one day Little Owl will let us take a photo of him. He's very cute, but shy - unless you're a mouse!

Pams-shrooms Remember the repurposed storage containers turned toadstools? They were one of the patterns in the Stitch Village pattern book. Pam has made a whole village of them to store her sewing notions. Instead of embroidering lettering she's sewn a sample of the containers contents above each door - genius. It's very sweet and an incredible amount of work.

Go see Pam's whole village!

Relax & recharge

Running the breakwater

Cornwall was smashing! We had amazing weather (mostly), visited inspiring places and spent a wonderful time with friends. 

Viewing the ruins of Tintagel  

Tintagel, legendary birth place of King Arthur, is set on a stunning strip of coast.


Descending cliffs to Merlin's caves 

A very steep hill down to the caves, not the best route, but we went anyway. 

Visiting Eden

The Eden Project, a must when visiting Cornwall. A dream realized by its founder, Tim Smit, Eden is a huge eco project built in the pit of an old china clay quarry, a once barren landscape.

I forgot to photograph one of my favourite exhibits, "The Seed" by artist, Peter Randall-Page, but his website has it and the story behind his process.

Time out
An exhibit about seed dispersal involved donning velcro suits. I'd like one of these at home, if my children drive me mad I could stick them to the wall (then they'd also become art.)

Stone skippers

This tiny cove hosted four young stone skippers who perfected their skill and two bigger skippers who battled it out for the most skips. Not only did we find perfect skipping stones here but also more than a few pieces of pretty sea glass.

Megavissey Harbour

One of many pretty Cornish fishing villages. We sat at the harbour with the sun on our faces and ate fish & chips, nothing could be nicer - except a pint of Betty Stogs to wash it down.

Castles of sand  

Okay enough of other people's holiday photos, yawn, yawn, snooze, snooze. But I've enjoyed revisiting our wonderful week away.

The children will remember:

perfect skipping stones, cliff top walks, sea caves, blowing perfect bubbles, real waves, amazing geology, brilliant chips, cornish ice cream and very good times with very good friends

Their parent's will remember the same and Betty Stogs too of course :)

Be back soon with a new tutorial that's a real hoooooooot, and a look at a stitched up mushroom village.

PS - Forgot to mention that this little old blog has been nominated for a Dorset Cereals blog award. I'm not very good at spreading news about these things, but if you're in the clicking mood, click the button up there on the right and vote Nini. It's only for the month and as April is nearly over and I've only just been nominated I don't see that big juicy cereal prize package coming this way. But it really is sincerely fun to have been nominated :)


Bird Chronicles: The Dinner Party

A chaffinch having dinner with Mr and Mrs Pheasant

So much has been happening in the garden, but the birds keep stealing the show.

We have several pairs of chaffinches and a very handsome Mr and Mrs Pheasant, and they all enjoy dining together.

A chaffinch peering over the side of the feeder, looking down at the pheasants and the seed he's tossed

This feeder in the Forsythia bush is the favourite of all the birds, especially the chaffinches. And the chaffinches, I've discovered, are very generous birds. They sit on this feeder to eat, yet when Mr and Mrs Pheasant come underneath the feeder to peck up the spilt seed, the chaffinches purposely toss extra seed over the side of the feeder to the pheasants on the ground. They then hop down to the ground to dine with their pheasant friends. When the pheasants aren't around the little birds spill little seed and stay on the feeder to feed, the don't fly down to feed underneath it. Amazing avian cooperation, very entertaining to watch.

Also, a little owl is nesting nearby, and we've seen him several times because, lucky for us,  little owls come out during daylight hours.

We've also discovered a lot of little homes like this tiny nest made almost entirely from moss. 

Moss-nestTiny nest of moss

The inhabitants have already flown away. I'm guessing they were great tits or wrens due to the size of the nest, it would be a squeeze to fit a golf ball inside.

And please indulge me with one last photo. 

Lonely fellow

This partridge just came to my window to have a chat; I think he's having lady troubles. He's by himself and has hung around for ages trying to get my attention, going from one window to the next watching me and clucking away. Lonely I suspect, I rarely see a partridge on its own.

Happy, happy birthday to Sonia for today, Margie on the 15th and a big happy 49th anniversary to my mom and dad also on the 15th!

I've been away so long, I have a lot to catch up with. I'll be back soon with WIP news and lots to share from our holiday. 

Bye for now.

PS, I'm truly sorry for all those in distress over the lack of air travel due to the volcano eruption, but pure blue skies with no jet streams sure are an amazing site aren't they?!

Happy, hoppity Easter


H A P P Y E A S T E R !

We're off to Cornwall for a week of seaside fun. The weather here is still very chilly and rain is forecast for the entire week, but we're excited anyway. 

Today the sun is mostly shining. The eggs got dyed, hidden, found and partly eaten. We're all sporting dyed fingers and now it's time to finish folding laundry and pack the suitcases. I leave you with a few images from our Easter break thus far.

 Daffs have opened.

Lichen in a birch

Nest decorator 

Dyed-inside Dyed the brown eggs inside 

Kool Aid Egg 

Egg finding

Sunny-Bunny The nest decorator above was made from an empty lemon bag and filled with my saved up thread, lint from our washing machine filter and yarn scraps. We're still seeing many birds preparing nests around here so we hope it helps, but I can't help imaging Mr and Mrs Finch arguing over colour choices.

For those of you who may not have seen my Flicker photos, this free Sunny Bunny pattern is available free to download on the Stitch Village blog, here.

Our eggs were dyed with a combination of dyes bought in Holland last year, and Kool Aid sent to us by Pam. The lovely bright orange is Strawberry Kool Aid.

I hope you're all having a wonderful, relaxed day. See you after our break.

Happy Easter, and happy spring!

J x