DIY Thread Spool Holder

Beautiful Spool HolderI really enjoy when I have wanted or needed something for my house for ages (but time, money or more important things get in the way of getting it) and then suddenly pops into my head, ‘OH I can make that’. It normally happens as all great things do when your not thinking about it and you come across an item or an idea and you go ‘Hey I’ve got it!’. Such a think happened this weekend when I needed a nail to hang a picture up and while rummaging through my nail/hardware junk tin I came across some very long nails which my dad had given me in his own tool box clear out. It suddenly clicked they would be the perfect size to fit thread spools on and I since I had wanted/needed a spool holder everything else came together in my head. The result my wonderful DIY thread holder which I made completely for free. yay!

You will need: A long piece of cardboard with a width that will fit the amount of spools you want, masking tape, fabric that will cover the cardboard, long nails (as many as you want spools), a hammer, sewing machine or needle and thread

spool holder cardboard1. Fold the the long piece of card board over several times so you get a rectangular piece with several layers of cardboard and then secure it with masking tape.

2. Take the fabric you want to cover it in and cut it to size. You want it to go around the cardboard shape covering back and front with enough space around the sides for a seam. Sew a seam around three sides  (or two if you have folded it over) with the right sides of the fabric facing. Turn the right way round and slip the cardboard into the pocket you’ve made, like a pillow into a pillowcase

spool holder cover3. You can finish the open edge by stitching a straight line across the the top with the excess fabric folded either in on it’s self or round to the back. As I had quite slippery material I used masking tape to secure it first (strong enough to hold in place but never damages fabric)

4. Measure out where you want to put your nails and mark them on the side of the cardboard you want to be at the front. You can mark with pen to make it clear as you will be driving the nails through the fabric so you won’t see the marks.

Spool holder with nails in 5. Place a nail one at a time on it’s mark and drive it through the fabric and cardboard until it reaches the other side but doesn’t go through the cardboard at the back. You want to drive each nail through at an angle, between 35-45 degrees to vertical so the spools don’t slip off. It’s also a good idea to do the hammering on top of a surface that won’t get damaged like a cutting board or another piece of cardboard.

6. The fabric will be pulled into the cardboard by the nail so to create a neat finish slowly pull it out  along the nail so it sits against the cardboard once more

spool holder up right7. You are then ready to use it. You can either lay it flat on a table or store on a shelf, or you can mount it on the wall. I will mount it eventually but I want to get the right positioning before I start nailing anything into my walls. To mount it I would probably use some smaller nails or pins that I could drive into the back of the holder, wrap string around them and make it like a picture frame. I would then use a standard picture hook to hang it.

spool holder with sewing machine

I love that I will now have easy access to my most used threads and they won’t sit in a box getting tangled up. I like the bright fabric I used, an of cut from a skirt I made a few years ago, which will brighten up my craft room walls when I hang it up. Have you ever had a project you just didn’t know how to do and it revealed itself in a flash of genius? or are you still looking for inspiration?


x xxx

DIY Notice board

notice board in placeAs part of my January Cure challenge I had to sort out our entry way and create a landing strip. We use the back door that leads into the kitchen as our entry way as the front door leads only to the living room door and the stairs so no place to store coats, shoes etc. We keep coats in a little cupboard in the kitchen which is under our stairs (also houses our meters and surplus dried foods). There isn’t much space elsewhere and we have our kitchen table immediately there as you enter our home but I found a brilliant simple shoe cabinet from IKEA that fits a perfect gap between the doorway and table. It means we can take our shoes off at the door and not drag dirt into the house. The cabinet top makes a great place to keep papers, pens and important info for the house on but it kept on getting very cluttered and turned into a dumping area. So to resolve this I made the notice board I had into a catch all board to take clutter off the surface but keep the info and stationary we need close at hand. It also looks a lot neater and prettier then a plain cork board too.

noticeboard placementYou will need: A notice board, Fabric to cover the board and extra for pockets, scissors, sewing machine or needle and thread and a staple gun

I collected all of the items that were lingering on and around the board and sorted into keep, chuck or move to another room. I then decided how I wanted to store the items I was keeping on the board. I wanted three pockets, one for stationary, one for important mail and one for coupons/vouchers plus I wanted to add a calendar to it. I measured the noticeboard against my chosen fabric (some off cuts from some old curtains) and measured out my pockets, then marked and pinned where I wanted them to go on the main fabric piece. I sewed the pockets down using a decorative zig zag stitch but you can use a needle and thread if you don’t have a machine. I was lucky in that my fabric for the pockets already has a neatly stitched hem, making the pocket opening very neat. You can do this too by first sewing a hem before you attach the pockets to the main fabric piece.notice board pockets

I then stretched the fabric around the notice board on one side, rolled the edge over to make a neat finish then stapled the fabric in place. I then stretched the fabric to the other side and repeated the process. Do this on all four sides to complete. Always stretch and staple the opposite corners to the staple before and you should get a nice smooth finish. I then just propped it back on the shoe cabinet and added the essentials I needed. I also drove a pin nail through the cork for somewhere to hang my calendar.

notice board complete

It definitely makes the place look neater and keeps things in order. I also added the word art our friend James gave us as a house warming present, great inspiration for when you leave and come home.

I can I will I did


x xxx

In the World: Mandy Pattullo

Stag- Mandy Pattullo

A new years resolution perhaps or a long idea and goal within the artist mind, Mandy Pattullo says:
‘I don’t want to buy new anymore and pursue what I call a thread and thrift vision’
The Northumberland textile designer and artist uses vintage and thrifted fabrics to create her collages, particularly pieces which have show a previous craft applied, for instance embroidery, or have a unique tarnished look from their past. This appreciation of history and that old does not necessarily mean defunct, instantly connects me to her unique and naturally heartwarming pieces.

Orange Skirt - Mandy Pattullo

Pattullo also creates garments from old quilts inspiring a boho style look but still easily wearable for a wander around the shops. I enjoy the added embellishments and layering techniques and adore the most brightly coloured ones

About Me - Mandy Pattullo

As an artist Pattullo has been able to explore her own projects rather then rely on the customer. Her personal interest in Victorian cemeteries has inspired two exhibits both dealing in ideas of memory. As well as featuring her use of vintage textiles, she also used her other passions for printmaking and paper ephemera collages to add to the experience and create a haunting but absorbing collection.

sewing collage- Mandy Pattullo

View more of her collections on her Website or read more about herself and works on her aptly named blog Thread and Thrift She also teaches printmaking and mixed media classes so check  her out if your interested and in the area.

Hope you enjoyed this little view


X xxx

Shop News: Bottle Carriers

4 pack blue bottle top

Happy Monday every body and what a monday its been. Work at 6 this morning, finished at 9, did the food shop, put away the washing, put more laundary on, general tidy round, cut out pieces ready for sewing some new cool bags and aprons, cheese toasty in hand, writing this short post and it’s only just past 12 o’clock yet.phew! I think it must be one of the first good Monday feelings i’ve had in a while and i might just be because i love my new range of items i’ve been making for the shop. Bottle Carriers.

                                               black full

Made from Maker’s Meadow staple material malt sacks from Geeves Brewery, the bottle carriers came to me like a stroke of genius, even if i do say so myself. The boys at the Brewery have recently started bottling their wares and it seemed like a bottle carrier made from the malt sacks whose previous contents where used to make the bottled beet would be a perfect partner to a few of their tipples. The malt bags are sewn into a circular holder containing 6 or 4 pockets one for each beer. The sacking is super strong, so there is no chance of rips or tears, and the cotton handles make a comfortable strap to carry but are triple stitched to add further security to the holder. Nothing worse then precious beer being geeves

We think they make a great present for beer lovers, just add a few of their favourite bevvy’s and you’ve got a ready made gift. If you want to try some of Geeves brewery new beers they are now being stocked online at Best of British Beer & Barley Hops. If your in South/West Yorkshire they are also avaliable at Beer Huis, Ossett,  Yorkshire Ales, Snaith and Blacker Hall Farm, Wakefield as well as many pubs we supply cask to as well. All the bottle carriers are now avaliable online on our Etsy or Folksy Shops and more colours will be avaliable soon.

Any beer fans in the readership today?


X xxx

15 Uses: Inked Out Pens & Broken Pencils

This week is another everyday item which we all have but never recycle because there isn’t the facilities. I am the very guilty party of the ‘pen doesn’t work so put it back in the pot not in the bin’. This most annoying habit i find is actually shared by almost everyone i know in Britain. Whether at home or work we continually knowingly put back inked out pens and blunt, small, broken pencils ….maybe our brain is saying we can’t recycle them so we need to keep them to upcycle…well it’s a nice thought. So here is 15 ways to finally get rid of those broken, old and inked out pens and pencils.

5 Arty uses

1. I’ve seen alot of these melted crayon art pieces and my favourites have got to be the rainbow coloured ones. Great for using up those little broken bits of crayon and all you need is a blank canvas, a black marker for detail and a hair dryer.

2. Create tiny pieces of art on the end of a pencil, a lot of patience needed for this one

3. This would probable be more wasteful then useful unless you found just broken pencils, might take a long time, but if you want to why not make a life size model of yourself. Can definitely see this in a garden to scare away burglers.

4. A bit too artsy fartsy fr my tastes but you could use an old pen casing to make a vase for a single rose. Might look quite good in an office,  very modern.

5. A bit of a sparse tree in this example but change the shape a little, add decorations and you’ve got an upcycled Christmas tree ready for the festivities.

5 fun and crafty ideas

1. Use a tiny old pencil and an old washer to make a spinning sketch-a-graph and let the kids go wild and make lots of pretty patterns

2. If you’ve still got crayons left over from your melting art, melt them again in cupcake trays/mould to create new rainbow crayons for rainy days in.

3. Dried out felt tip pens have a surprising amount of ink still left in them, soak over night in half a cup of water to release the ink. You now have ink to play with whether for painting or dyeing, but if your dyeing clothes make sure to wash separately as not sure of how much they would run. Any one done this experiment before? any ideas for a fixing agent?

4. Use old pens casings to create upcycled crochet hooks,  simply glue in place, dry and away you go on a crocheting adventure.

5. Use pen lids and casing to make a colourful skipping rope. Grab some cord and thread on as many pieces as you need. Most pens have bottoms which pop off, so use a thinner pen or metal skewer to push them off if stuck, but watch  your fingers.

5 fashion and home ideas

1. Metal pen tips can add a modern touch to some homemade earrings. Earring making sets are easy to find online or in craft stores and easy to make,.

2. Cut pencils with studded backs make another quirky earring set. If you don’t want to make your own though there are many for sale on Etsy and Folksy

3. Use inked out ballpoint pens to make a cool lamp shade, great decoration for an office. Use a cheap lampshade, cut off all but a top band. Thread matching cotton through the shade, loop and knot, then hang your  ball point pens on the loops

4. Pierce a plastic bottle with lots of pen ends, tips pointing outwards, attach a hose to the bottle neck and you’ve got a home made sprinkler for the garden.

5. More cut pencil jewellery: necklaces and broaches. Really colourful and fun. Use two complementary colours for a more grown up look.

So there you go 15 uses for more rubbish around the home, definitely want to try make some of the jewellery. Any other trash you want some ideas for, just leave a note in the comments and i’ll find 15 uses for it…or at least do my best.


X xxx

Folksy Friday: Squeaky Clean

If you don’t already know what Folksy is then you should if you get to know it as soon as possible if you love handmade products with a personal touch. Very much like the American website Etsy, Folksy is a British website shopping platform for British designers and makers who design and craft inspiring pieces of handmade work. It is the platform i chose to launch my shop Maker’s Meadow from and i am very happy with it. Being a relatively new website, starting in 2008, it hasn’t the numbers yet that Etsy has, nor does it have the range of products as it is only for British creators, doesn’t allow food sales or vintage unless upcycled but i think it is the perfect place to showcase work simply because it is about supporting your local workers in Britain, even though i fully support all creators around the world. To celebrate this fact, i am going to choose my favourite products in a theme each week  and maybe you’ll find something you like your self. This week is Squeaky Clean, the best products for the bathroom and scrub dub dubbing!

My favourite is the bath board from Hudson Carpentry Furniture, perfect for reading a book in the bath. I would love to try the healing hand balm from The Handmade Home and i’m sure Harry would love the pint shaped shaving foam from Scent Cosmetics , definitely a good gift idea. Shush don’t tell him. Like something here i’d snap it up quick, as i said earlier in the week, start thinking about Christmas presents early and you could save alot of stress and shave alot of the bills (Wahee! terrible joke). For links to all the products check out my Pinterest Board, Folksy Fridays: Squeaky Clean. Also don’t forget to check out Maker’s Meadow.


X xxx