15th August 2014
I’ve been wanting to make a round hanging shelf for the last few months, I love the way they’re almost like art when you fill it with pretty possessions. However, I’ve struggled to find a way to create a perfect circular frame for it. Walking down the street in Hong Kong recently I stumbled upon the answer, a large dim sum steamer. Who would have thought that they could produce something more than a delicious lunch? Read on to see how. Spoiler: it’s shockingly easy.
- A dim sum steamer basket (mine was 38 cm / 15 inches across)
- A piece of plywood a fraction longer than the widest part of the inside of the steamer, with a depth that matches.
- Scissors/stanley knife
1. Start by removing the base of the basket by cutting away all the woven parts connecting to the frame.
2. Once you remove the weaving it should be a simple task of pulling out the bamboo base. If yours is glued in You may have to pry it out.
3. Your frame should look like this.
4. Wedge your plywood into the steamer. Mine had some wrapped bamboo which provided a natural ledge for the shelf, but if your doesn’t I would also add some glue to keep the shelf in place.
5. Cut the rope to the size you want in terms of how much you want the basket to hang down.
6. The steamer basked will have holes in the side through which the weaving you cut out went, so I simply wrapped the wire through that to secure the rope.
Voila. This has taken pride of place above my desk!
14th August 2014
Put some time into doing what you love and chances are you’ll be faced with lots of decisions, both big and small. For me this has always been a sticking point, I have a tendency to overthink the decision making process, pondering all the different potential scenarios and outcomes, seeking advice from everyone I knew and always, without fail, taking way too long to decide which side of the fence I want to be on. But the thing I’ve learnt is that this is often complete waste of time, taking ages to decide leaves you with less time to actually get on and do what you need to do – therefore poor decision making = inefficiency. Don’t I know it! In the last year or so I’ve tried to make a conscious effort to be more decisive, and have researched a few ideas and applied them to the way I operate (but naturally I’m still learning). Read on for a few thoughts about making decisions.
Apply your values
In this post I talked about doing some exercises to understand your values, and they definitely apply here too. Knowing more about what’s important to you is essential for good decision making – and reminding yourself of these when a major decision comes up can be helpful. Do you value financial security over creative pursuits, or vice versus?
Go with your gut
Remember when your maths teacher told you that the first multiple choice question you select is more likely to be correct? As true now as it ever was – I know from personal experience that after going around and around I usually come back to my initial reaction (or have become lead astray by overthinking which is never good).
Take advice with a grain of salt
If you’re like me, as soon as you’re faced with a decision you call up a friend or ask your family. Completely natural, but often the opinions of others are steeped in their own values, personalities or past experiences. I would never say not to ask your loved ones for their take, but I’ve learnt to try to stay in tune with what my gut is telling me, rather than letting someone else’s opinion make up my mind for me.
Try the ‘flip a coin’ method
OK so this isn’t what it sounds like and is something that my crazy family does. When faced with a decision, flip a coin on it and use the outcome to analyse your reaction. Are you pleased with the forced outcome of the heads or tails or do you wish it was the other side of the coin? I often find this is a great way to make small decisions.
If you’ve ever googled an illness you’ll know that too much information can be very very bad for you (how many times have I thought I had some awful disease!?). Research is important however sometimes too much of it can lead to further confusion and a whole lot of overthinking. These days I try to be targeted in researching a decision I need to make, and when it comes to online research (cos where else does it happen these days?) I’ve learnt to stay away from forums – which are generally filled with all the worst case scenarios and are sure to give you a rash.
Don’t be (too) afraid to get it wrong
Not every decision you make will be the right one, there’s no way around that. But as long as it’s a not life and death situation, every not quite right decision equips you with lessons and information that you take with you. So instead of being immobilised by the decision making process, lean in and know it’s a path to better things, or at least better knowledge, hindsight being 20/20 and all.
Ok so these are just some of my thoughts on how to make a decision, do any of you have any other ideas I haven’t touched on?
Typography by Jasmine Dowling
12th August 2014
As you can probably imagine, when I’m travelling I can’t help but buy fabrics wherever I go. Usually it’s a case of having to put a limit on myself lest I end up in one of those awkward, and costly, excess baggage situations. Sadly often the small scraps of fabric I buy are too small for a skirt or a pair of shorts, but too dear to my heart to throw away so end up sitting in a box. While in the process of finishing off my favourite nook in the studio I got a craving for throw cushions, and rather than buying them myself I realised it would be a great opportunity to use some of those colourful fabric scraps. My one main issue with sewing cushions though was that putting a zip in can take aggges (I wanted to make seven cushions), but the last thing you want is a cover you can’t wash. After a bit of pondering I worked out a way to create a cushion with a folding flap so you don’t need a zip. What’s even better is that if you have time you can totally make these by hand! Read on the see how.
- A piece of colourful fabric for the front
- Some canvas or linen for the back
- A sewing machine or needle and thread.
- Cushion stuffing or inner.
1. First cut your fabric pieces. I used the shape of my fabric scraps to determine the size of my cushions, this colourful piece is roughly 45cm x 30cm (17 in x 12 in). Cut a piece of cotton or linen 1.5 to 2 times the length (longways) of your statement piece of fabric. If your fabric is square just pick a side to use as the longways. The longer you cut the backing piece the bigger the overlap of the flap at the be will be so I made mine closer to 2 x because I was using cushion stuffing and I didn’t want it to come out.
2. Cut the piece of backing fabric in half width ways.
3. Lay the fabric together, first one side of the backing fabric, then the other and then the statement fabric right side down. Note that the backing piece that is second from the bottom will be the outer flap, which is why I oriented the clean selvedged edge here. In the event you don’t have a clear selvedged edge on this piece, the best thing to do is to hem this along the short edge so when you turn it inside out it has a nice finished edge.
4. Pin together.
5. Sew all the way around the cushion about 2.5 cm (1 in) from the edge.
6. After sewing the fabric should look like this.
7. Turn the fabric inside out by pulling it through the flaps in the backing and then iron down well, making sure to turn the points of the cushion out, you can use a pencil or chop stick to do this.
8. The back of your cushion should look like this – you can see that my back piece overlaps a lot to keep the stuffing inside but yours may be more centred.
9. Stuff your cushion or if you’re using an insert put that in.
Voila! I can’t wait to show you all the different ones I made with fabrics from all over the world. Nothing better than hanging in the studio sitting on cushions that remind me of places I’ve been!