a post inspired giveaway

Postcard giveaway
Old postcards

I finally made it back for the giveaway. I've been so quiet really here in this space that there will probably be very good odds for this giveaway as not too many people may be reading at this point.

First a little about these cards. England has a lot of little places tucked away that really haven't changed much since the 1950's, so the whole vintage thing is easy to fix up around here. In Taunton there is a place that definitely hasn't changed at all in decades, it's a stamp shop creatively names "The Taunton Stamp Shop" and you'll find it along the road on the way to the station. I'd give you a link to it's website but there were no websites in the 1950's.

If you go there, admire the rows and rows of built in drawers with old lucite handles and paper ephemera from floor to ceiling. It may not look like much to most people but I'm guessing if you are a reader of this blog you'd appreciate it too.

While there I came across packs of postcards. They were odd assortments; many very old some as new as 1960's, all interesting in some way but deemed of low value for real collectors so they were bundled and sealed and priced to go. I bought a few packs not knowing what was inside, seeing only the card on top –a real pot luck. When I got them home I studied every one of them, I couldn't put them down. 

Vintage stamp giveaway
Old stamps

Reading the short messages are like snapshots from the lives of strangers. Among them was a card to a child at Great Ormond Street hospital from her Granny and Grandad. Many of the cards were giving notice of upcoming visits, sent long before everyone had phones in their homes. And I found it funny that two themes were very common on most cards, themes most modern postcards might have today, a description of the weather and apologies for having little time to write (actually these topics would now most likely be sent in the form of text messages).

The giveaway 

Postcards 
I've chosen 15 or 20 of my favourite postcards (I haven't counted them). The cards I chose either have nice type styles, lovely images on the fronts, pretty handwriting in the message or they are simply quirky. A few have no messages at all and can still be sent with your own note.

Stamps
Also, a largish matchbox full of old stamps. Though I was in a stamp shop, I bought no stamps, I already have loads of old stamps bought from good boot fairs in the past, even though lots were used with my classes making projects like these.

I hand picked many of the stamps for beautiful art, nature themes, vivid colours and lovely design. A small assortment were just grabbed and tossed in, but I'm sure those will hold gems too. As I studied the stamps I realized creating artwork for a such a small format is a real art in itself. I think most of my favourites are those from Morocco, they have a very Casablancan look.

This giveaway will appeal to those who love paper projects, mixed media, paper stitching or even a to a philatelist.

If you'd like this little gift simply leave a comment on this post about post. I will choose a winner next Friday, the 21st and I will post anywhere.

EDIT: I'll also need your email address in case you win, thanks.

Hope you have a ripping weekend! 

Jx

P.S. Ripping is my new favourite adjective, I found it on many of the postcards.


Enjoying paper, post and running

Making books
Book making 

Have you ever planned a project, got down to making it and gone in a completely different direction? That's how my latest Green Parent project went for me. Sometimes it's just more fun to go off-plan, especially when it involves using up whatever I have lying around, and a tiny bit of dumpster diving. Not really dumpster, but our giant recycling bin. Note to self... best to roll the bin back off the road before diving in it.

Pam's-gift
Pam parcel

Pam is not only extremely generous on her blog with oodles of detailed tutorials and links, she's also a giver offline. I received this box of goodies over the weekend and what a lovely surprise it was. She made the wood-strip ornament and woven mat – did I mention that she's also very clever? And a brilliant photographer, which is her day job. Check out how she used the rain to turn digital images into watercolours, I'm sure we'll have ample opportunity to try this one out – but not today, it's sunny.

G runs 1
Another Sports Day done

Sports day at school was Saturday, our school isn't particularly competitive in sports so our children aren't usually too bothered about how well they do, but this year they both came home with first place ribbons so they cared a little more ;) We're on the home stretch, children finish school on Friday, then it's 8.5 weeks with few plans and no alarm, just the way we like it.

Happy Monday,

Jx


Mr Owl: carved paper sculpture tutorial

Carved-owl

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

 

4-base-parts
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. 
 
 
2-Neck
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.)
   

3-Feet&side
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.
 

5-Eyes
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. 
 

Behind-eyes
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.

Finished

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

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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!


Quick advent calendar

Advent-bunt

I'm resurrecting this advent calendar idea from a couple of years back. It was first made for a craft magazine and the editor liked colourful materials so we used Christmas themed paper. I think we'll use newspaper this year (we'll sift through our recycle pile to find some without horrible headlines.) Or we'll paint newspaper or brown craft paper for a colourful but more rustic look.

Adventtree_2 For a different magazine I made these packets and a twig tree using tracing paper, that would be fun to use for the bunting too.

We like to create little activities, riddles, or jokes instead of sweets or chocolate because we find there are already plenty of sugary goodies around every where this time of year. Making up knock-knock jokes is big with my two at the moment so I think the bunting might be stuffed with several of them.

If you're as far behind schedule as I am this year and you'd like to make advent bunting here's a handy template for you. Just trace the template on paper of your choice, fold on the dotted lines and punch holes in each one to hang. Here's what you need:

long twine to tie the bunting to • paper for folding • ribbon or string to tie the bunting to the twine • small sweets or chocolate coins and/or lots of jokes, riddles and activities

Have a great Monday everyone, I think I might spy some sun peeking out from behind a black cloud - things are looking up around here but I won't be taking my wellies off just yet.