Friday, 24 June 2011

Washing line windmill tutorial

I have a bit of a passion for windmills. Whenever I go to the seaside I make a small toy windmill purchase. I'm approaching 40 so perhaps I should have grown out of this, but they're colourful, they spin around and they remind me of the beach. Maybe it's not so odd after all.

I've had an idea for washing line windmills knocking around in my head for a while. I find hanging the washing out fairly soothing and zen-like anyway, but these seem to make a line of washing rather lovely.

Here's a tutorial so that you can make your own.

You will need:

Medium card
Holepunch (I used a scissor-like one)
1mm galvanised wire (available from hardware shops or garden centres)
Wire cutters and pliers (round-nosed if you have them)
Beads (flattish ones work well, plastic or glass are equally good)
Washing line pegs*

I used plastic ones but wooden pegs would work just as well.

1. Mark and cut out a 7cm square of card. I drew some quick pencil lines on one side for some deckchair-
like stripes.

2. Turn over and draw lines between opposite corners to make a cross. Cut from each corner to about two thirds of the way towards the middle.

3. Bring two opposite corners together and fold. Repeat with the other two corners. Use the point where the folds meet to cut a hole about 8mm wide. It doesn't have to be perfectly round.

4. Turn back over and use a hole punch to make holes in each corner as shown, then bend each corner into the middle but don't make a crease, just a loose fold so that each of the corners stay near the centre.

5. Cut a piece of galvanised wire about 20cm long and make a loop at the end using pliers. Thread a bead onto the wire.

6. Poke the other end of the wire through one of the corner holes in the front of the windmill, then through each of the other corner holes in turn and finally through the hole in the 'back' of the windmill. Adjust and gently bend the 'sails' of the windmill at this point so that it spins smoothly if blown.

7. Bend the wire through 90 degrees about 4cm behind the bead. Then use your pliers and fingers to bend the wire into a roundish shape about 1.5cm in diameter as shown.

8. Thread the end of the wire around the middle of the peg and bring the wire round to form a loop as shown above. Twist the end of the wire around the central piece of wire to secure it as shown below. Snip the end off and use your pliers to really squeeze the wire that wraps wound the peg to make sure that it doesn't slide around.

9. Your windmill and its wire may need slight bending and adjustment to ensure that it spins well. When this is done peg on the line.

The proof of the windmill is in the spinning. Here they are in action. The wall behind is rather old (250 years) so please excuse the cracks in it:

Note: The lovely little vintage embroidered tablecloth was a recent and unexpected thankyou present from Steph at Curlew Country. Steph it's enjoyed and admired daily, thankyou so much.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

On the verge

At the moment, the roadsides where I live are crowded with flowers.

Whether it's a single wildflower that creates a drift of colour...

...or self-seeded domesticated plants creating a pretty jumble, personally I think that right now my local verges are as beautiful as any garden.

Sometimes there's a totally unexpected surprise, like this powder blue flax,

...or a flower that's determined to rusticate itself like this clematis that's scrambled up a telegraph pole.

Perhaps I should create a guide to the loveliest verges in East Anglia.

Whilst I was photographing these dog daisies someone walked over to me and whispered about the holy grail of roadside flowers... of Britain's rarest and most exquisite, a bee orchid, just a mile from my house.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Sewing necklace

Recently I stumbled on one of the loveliest vintage charms I've ever seen: minute, sterling, filligree scissors that are articulated so that they move. What's more they're around seventy years old. Vintage pixie scissors.

By chance I was commissioned to make a tiny silver cotton reel to be delivered today. They're tricky to make and can easily turn out rather ungainly but this morning, thank goodness, all worked out well.

I saw a tiny silver marriage made in heaven so I made an extra silver cotton reel and raided the vintage mother of pearl button stash.

The result is a sewing necklace and it's in my etsy shop.

Speaking of which, whilst the Mr and I were staying in our tiny cottage on Monday my little gumball necklace made it to the front page of etsy!

Dances were danced, let me tell you.

That's what's going on in my Creative Space. See more inspirational makes here.

Edited to add: I'm still quite new to making treasuries but I picked some beautiful making kit from the pages of etsy to make a treasury- do pop over to have a peep - all feedback is very welcome.

Friday, 10 June 2011


Where did I go? Into jewellery-making land, mostly.

The last few weeks have been a very busy blur. I finished off a collection for Primavera and have been working on my silver brooch for the Flowerpress Brooch swap (pictured below). I can't reveal the recipient's identity as yet as it's a secret swap, but pop over to the Flowerpress blog and the swap flickr pool to see more of the beautiful and covetable brooches soon to be sent to all parts of the world.

There has been another secret project round here, of the 'being in print' variety, but I can't let on until the autumn about that one. I'm beyond excited about it.

In other but even more important news, the littlest daughter turned three yesterday. She is just a month younger than this blog. It's hard to believe I began a blog whilst 36 weeks pregnant. What was I thinking?

The last three years has seen this tiny bundle:

...turn into this, tallerbutstillsmallish, funny, giggly little girl who is prone to making up songs and has a liking for pigs.

Finally, if you're in Norfolk tomorrow and fancy a treat pop along to the Pick and Mix Makers' Market in Holt. It's organised by Lisa at Bobo Bun and if the previous three are anything to go by, will be the place to buy both handmade and vintage things this weekend. You can also see Penny and Celia there. It's sure to be serious fun.

I'll be back next week after a small trip to stay in a teeny thatched wendyhouse with the Mr, to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary (a month early).