June storytelling swap

A few weeks ago I walked into a bookshop and there on the shelf was this book, In the Shelter, by the poet I mentioned here, and so I had to buy it. This quote was in the foreword and although it is stating the obvious I have been thinking about it a lot ever since.

I have actually abandoned this one half way through because this quote was indicative of how much I would love this book. It is so eloquently written I am pausing to savour it in special moments and places rather than rush right through in a hurried commute.

Once upon a time I was more articulate and a better writer than I am now (it is age? practise? weariness? too many spreadsheets?) It is something I would like to work on, which is part of the reason why the next letter swap is a storytelling swap. Also, almost twenty years ago, my history tutorial discussed the impact of email (it was brand new!) and the internet on documenting history for future generations. I can find no trace now of articles I had published online less than 10 years ago. So, even if it is a small group, I’m looking forward to writing down a story about my grandparents. If you would like to do that too, you can still register here. I hope you can join us.

(Quote is written on this Rifle Paper Co pink floral desk pad.)

Ways to reuse your Rifle Paper Co calendar #1: flower wraps

The illustrations in the Rifle Paper Co calendars are so pretty that I’m planning a whole year’s worth of ideas on how to re-use them. Last week I got a little carried away with a colour photocopier and blew up some of the illustrations from January and February.

As well as keeping some for wrapping and Instagram backgrounds, I’ve been wrapping hostess flower gifts in them, with a little coloured tissue. Simple, but makes some quickly-bought flowers seem a little more considered.

Papermash letter swap

Here are some photos from our #papermashletterswap – the winner of our competition will be announced at the end of this week.

If you’d like to take part in the next one, you can sign up here - this one will focus more on the storytelling aspect, with just a short story and a pretty envelope. The theme will be grandparents, and swaps are to be sent out by the end of June. More details here.

A mini milk bottle and friends

I’m in the middle of a ‘grand clear-out’ (goodbye, Living Etc from 2003…) but a collection which remains is a decent-sized stash of small glass containers. Can you have too many? I prefer little collections of flowers (these are cut from the garden), and I added a little colour to these jam jars with blue and pink, and pink and white bakers twine.

jam jars and pink bakers twine

pink bakers twine and jam jars

pink bakers twine and jam jars

I also replaced my hanging eucalyptus with a solitary mini milk bottle tied with strong hot pink jute twine. I like it very much.

Papermash letter swap

This spring I decided on the spur of the moment, and after a prompt from a friend, to organise a letter swap! I’ve seen lots of these over the years, and have so much fun with my wooden envelope template, so I thought others might like to swap envelopes too.

Papermash envelope

Over Christmas I met an old friend, who I hadn’t seen for 15 years. In our what-have-you-been-doing-with-your-life catch-up (still not sure!) he mentioned someone to me who I don’t know but whose name sounded familiar. Some Google research later and I realised I’d heard of him in a completely different context, as someone who runs a storytelling event in Belfast, in which 10 people tell a story on the same theme for 9 minutes each. It sounded utterly wonderful to me, so I was thrilled to discover that of the few spin-offs around the UK, one is exactly where I live! I love it when my internet stalking investigations result in something fruitful and constructive.

Papermash envelope 2

I went to my first Tenx9 event last month, and loved every minute. It prompted me to add a small storytelling element to the letter swap (even though I can never recall any good stories of my own), on the theme of surprise (the same theme as next week’s Tenx9.) I’ve asked swappers to add a short anecdote, quote or poem on this theme, and just for fun, a small, letter-sized gift under £5.

Papermash envelope 4

Papermash envelope 3

Sounds very demanding, right? I’ve already signed up and notified 50 people, but if you fancy the challenge, I’m just opening up a final 20 slots for anyone else who would like to take part. This letter should be sent out by 20th March to arrive before 23rd March.

You can sign up here.

If it turns out to be hassle-free (don’t blame me if your envelope doesn’t show up from a random person from the internet), I might run something similar again!

Three ways to wrap with bakers’ twine

I always have a  supply of bakers twine close at hand - it is an easy way to smarten up plain brown or white paper, and at 100m in length it lasts a really long time. This Christmas I tried out three different ways of wrapping using bakers twine.

Three ways to wrap using bakers twine

Bakers twine wrapping 1

1. Simple plaiting using red and pink bakers twine. {Also like this tiny to and from stamp, and watercolour letters. Watercolour edging too, of course.}

Bakers twine 2

2. Twine-stamped paper – {I saw this idea on Pinterest.} I wrapped some string around a spare stamp block, and quite like how it shows the stripy effect of the string.

Bakers twine 3

3. Bakers twine tassels {you can follow similar instructions to this tutorial here.}

Which is your favourite? {PS, love this post by Mel Wiggins on wrapping with kids.}

My favourite Christmas recipe

There are some things you can be guaranteed to find around these parts at Christmas; glittered roses, dried oranges, some sort of Christmas Crafternoon with friends, and peppermint bark. It’s delicious, easy to make, and impressive to look at. I won’t recreate the recipe here, when Molly’s eloquence is mouthwatering in itself (the full recipe is here), except that a little tip I learned this time is to cut the bark into neat squares after the final stage of the recipe (I left this overnight and it was rock hard and impossible to cut.)

I wrapped this up using the below:

Red striped paper bags / red sparkle twine / to and from stamps

Red and white bakers twine / from the kitchen of stamp

Do you have any easy Christmas recipes to share?

Simple clay gift tags

Every Christmas you can be guaranteed that blog posts start to appear in support of the easy craft material which is DAS air drying clay - what it says on the tin {packet.} It’s inexpensive – this time I just bought a tiny packet which made quite a few tags.

DAS gift tags © Papermash

I made some simple gift tags by rolling out some clay, drawing round a paper tag to give me a template, stamping an inked pencil rubber for the dots and using these lowercase stamps for the letters. I would suggest using an old ink pad if you have one {where the ink is a bit dryer.} I used this ink but when I opened a fresh one, the ink didn’t take at all in the clay. Also I used red ink, which then dried out as pink. You could also try making the dots and filling them with glitter. When they are dry, you can smooth the edges with a nail file.

Das spotted gift tags © Papermash

The clay takes around 24 hours to dry but make simple personalised tags {here combined with black and gold glitter twine and pink neon jute twine.}

Are you following along on Instagram? I’m sharing a gift wrapping idea each day of advent {@lynneatpapermash}.