Seriously Playing – Part One

Postcard from Jane


Recently I have been doing some serious playing. Well, there’s no point playing if you’re not going to do it seriously, is there? Let me start by explaining why I’ve been spending time playing.

Postcards from Sheila and Irene


At the end of last year I received handmade postcards from several members of the Be Creative group that I belong to. They had decided to send me some postcards because of the health problems I was having. I had no idea that I had been chosen until the cards began to arrive: it gave me such a thrill to know that they wanted to send them to me! All of the postcards were beautiful and graced our mantle shelf until just a couple of weeks ago. 

Postcard from Liz
Postcards from Wendy and Jan

In fact, they are so beautiful that I decided they needed to be stored in a special box: the trouble was, I didn’t have a special box! “Aha!” thought I, ” I’ll make one”. I had seen a photograph of an exquisite box posted on Facebook by one of the group members which was what gave me the idea. The next step was to figure out how to make something even vaguely similar.

Bits and pieces to play with


I must stress, at this stage, that I have no real idea of how to achieve what I am after. It has taken me since the beginning of the year to figure out how to even start, but start I have. I knew that I needed to create some sort of material or fabric that I could use to form the outside of the box and that I wanted to burn some of the fabrics that made up that material.

More bits and pieces

I began by gathering together all sorts of odds and ends which I could build up to create a fairly firm piece of ‘fabric’. Some of the things I grabbed were: painted pages from an old book;  torn out pages from magazines; coloured papers from my stash; scraps of handmade papers; cellophane sweet wrappers; plastic ‘foil’ wrappers; paint colour chips; damaged used postage stamps; scraps of fabric, lace, yarn and ribbon. I also used some fabric from my stash as a backing [I don’t know what type of fabric it is but I always describe it as something like a cross between canvas and calico] and some organza.

Starting to cover the fabric


The first step was to cover the backing fabric with torn pieces of the papers. The main colours I was using were blues, reds and purples, but I wasn’t restricting myself to only those: I knew I needed to add some flashes of contrast. I used small dabs of stick glue on the reverse of the papers so that they would hold in place.

The first layer is complete

When I had completely covered the backing, I began to add a second layer using the other scraps I had pulled together. At this stage, I decided that I wanted to just roughly cover the first layer: it would not matter if the first layer showed through in places.

I covered the entire piece with a single layer of organza and took it carefully to the sewing machine. This was a delicate operation as I had constructed the piece in my craft room, upstairs, and had to carry it to my sewing machine, downstairs! I lightly stitched all over my fabric, using freehand embroidery. The idea was merely to hold everything roughly in place.

The lightly-stitched second layer

The next stage involved added a third layer of scraps, again, just roughly covering what was already in place. I added another layer of organza and took it to the sewing machine.

My completed first piece


This time I stippled the fabric closely all over. As you can see, the organza plus the stippling has muted the pieces beneath which, I think, helps to blend everything into one visually cohesive fabric. Another benefit of the close stippling was to create a reasonably firm material to use in the creation of a box.


In Part Two I will tell you more about this piece and those that followed.

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8 thoughts on “Seriously Playing – Part One

  1. Isn't it great when people think enough about you to send hand made postcards, it's so thoughtful. The fabric you made looks great. I'm looking forward to seeing the box. I hope you give instructions on how to construct it.

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  2. Absolutely fabulous result, Dina! Love the colours, how they all blend together and the free motion stitching. I was sure you would come up with something really creative for the cards you received. Looking forward to the finished box.

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