{Lucky Dip} Book Tin

As you’ll most definitely know by now, I have big love for books. I also have big love for bargains, so whenever I find bargain books I kind of have to snap them up. Unfortunately my buying is much quicker than my reading and I’ve ended up with a pair of bursting bookshelves… but now I’m faced with the ‘oh my God where do I start?’ problem. So I decided to make a lucky dip tin, just something I can pull out whenever I’m stuck in a reading rut (and might help me with my resolution of reading every book I own!)


Here’s what you’ll need:

A lidded tin or jar (I used a Twinings tin).

Gesso and acrylic paint in a colour of your choice

A selection of different papers (I used some scraps I’d doodled on, a page from a Mandarin poetry book, a digital stamp from Robyn’s Fetish and a couple of pages torn from a colouring book)

Some sparkly embellishments (I used a selection of rhinestones, some glitter glue and some sparkly nail varnish)

A pair of scissors, some wet glue (my fave is Collage Pauge) and an old paintbrush

My free printable and a pen or two you love

Step 1

JpegCoat your tin with a thin layer of gesso. Once it’s dry, paint it with acrylic paint – this is going to get covered up, so don’t bother with anything too fancy.

Step 2


Chop up your selection of papers and start pasting onto the tin. I’d recommend putting a thing layer of glue both under and over each piece to make sure it doesn’t start peeling off. Overlap the different designs (or maybe colours in your case) to create some interesting patterns.


Step 3

Now you need to let all that glue dry. While your waiting, make the ‘lucky dip’ pieces.


Print out the free printable (by clicking on the link at the top) and fill each box with the name of a book you’d like to read. If you have as many is me, the cutting out might take a while, but at least your tin will be completely dry when you’re done!

Step 4


Paint around the edges of the lid with glittery nail varnish. Once this has dried, start sticking on your rhinestones.


Step 5 

I felt in need for a bit more sparkle, so I also added a bit of glitter glue. While this is drying you can fold up all of your book titles.


Step 6 

Stick in your hand and pull out a book name… then get reading!

Jpeg Jpeg Jpeg

P.S. I made this book tin as part of my final Quirky Crafts challenge. The theme is ‘favourite things‘ and I used lots of my favourites here: I decorated a tea tin (my favourite drink), with reading in mind (my favourite hobby), using collage (my favourite technique), sparkles (every girl’s favourite thing) and Collage Pauge (my favourite adhesive). Check out the original challenge post for more design examples, and info on how to link up.


A Quirky Binder

Ever since I started secondary school, I’ve had a little tradition in the days before the Autumn term starts up again… I decorate my folder. I’ve always been a fan of having ‘one of a kind’ things, and it seems that one of the only ways to do this nowadays is to make or customise things yourself…

So for all those quirky stationery lovers out there, I thought I’d share a tutorial on how I made this:



These are the supplies you’ll need…

Jpeg  Jpeg


A ringbinder * A pair of scissors * Scraps of paper – I used a selection of book pages, leftover wrapping paper, painted card and a few other miscellaneous scraps I’d scrounged from under my desk * Some kind of wet glue (I use inexpensive PVA) * An old gift card or similar for spreading * A selection of stickers and decorative tapes.

First of all, start rifling through the papers you’ve collected, and pull out some pieces you like then cut them down to size. You have a couple of options here, you cut a lot of identical shapes or do what I did and cut random-sized, random-shaped pieces. Open out your folder and start playing with the composition of your collage pieces:


Once you like what you see, start gluing down the bits. To avoid bubbles in your paper, squirt a drop of glue straight onto the binder and scrape across with your gift card. Stick down the piece of paper, then run the card over it again to squeeze out any air. Keep going until everything is in place – if you stick anything over the joints of the folder, wiggle the covers a few times while the glue is still wet, and press out any bubbles. If you don’t do this then the paper will tear whenever you try to open your binder.



Start adding your second layer – I used a selection of decorative tapes, some previously doodled on tissue paper and a few stickers. I also added a digital stamp – Pumpkin Bird from Bugaboo, coloured with Prismacolor pencils.


At this point you could add a few doodles if you wanted to, just make sure you use pens that won’t smear (stick to biros, gel-pens and permanent markers). I decided to leave mine as it is for now (I might change my mind as the year goes on!). Once you’re happy with how it all looks, go over the whole thing with a generous layer of PVA, and give it a few hours to dry completely.

I had so much fun making this, I might have to give out a few as Christmas presents!

D x

P.S. The latest Quirky Crafts challenge is now live! This time the theme is ‘Pumpkin Time’ (hence the Pumpkin Bird), to link up, or see the rest of the fab Design Team examples, check out the original challenge post.

A Small and Quirky World

I’m a couple of days late with this post (bad Daire!), but I just wanted to let you know that the latest Quirky Crafts challenge has gone live. The theme for this challenge is ‘It’s a small, small world’ (as in , the Disney song) so we want to see different places or cultures represented in your crafts.

This is what I came up with:


I started out with a scrap of paper that had been sprayed with ink, and doodled on with a black pen. I snipped it up and glued it to a tag to make a background for the ‘Thanksgiving’ stamp by Paper Pretties. I added a splash of colour and sparkle to the image and background using pencil crayons and gel pens and then got to work on my favourite part… the tassle! I macramed along the tag thread with embroidery floss and added a few plastic beads from my stash… I love it so much, it really took me back to the days of friendship bracelets!

Now that that I’m finished I’ve decided it’s a bookmark to go in Becca (my cousin)’s emergency kit. She’s going away to University and like the mini-mum that I am, I’ve backed her a box of emergency supplies:

Picture to follow when I find my $£^&$*(+ memory card!

[Contains cheese grater, mug, quirky paperweight, a notebook with an owl on, a notebook with foxes on, a box of lemsip, some paracetamol, some plasters, some allergy tablets, a box of cappuccinos, a big bag of doritos, a packet of cookies, a student cook book and now, a fabulously unique bookmark, all in a hand doodled washing up bowl that could double as a sick bucket if necessary!]

Remember, all kinds of crafts are welcome over at QC, from scrapbooking, cross stitch, sculpture, cake decoration, quilting, knitting, card-making, art journalling… for information on how to link up, and a few more design examples, check out the original challenge post. Our three favourite entries will win some great crafty prizes!

D x

A Quirky Picnic

The latest Quirky Crafts challenge is live! This time the theme is ‘A BBQ or Picnic’ (very fitting for this weather, don’t you think?), and was sponsored by Crackerbox Palace; check out their online shop for a great line of rubber stamps.

As design examples for this challenge, I came up with these two art journal pages:


For my first spread I used a ‘spontaneous background’ created when cleaning of my brushes and stamps. The Watermelon from Crackerbox Palace was coloured with normal felt-tips (with a few gel-pen doodles), before being covered with strips of paper from a Mandarin poetry book. I redefined the watermelon and coloured those areas with Prismacolor pencils and then added a gel-pen quote and border (quote reads “Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it” – Russell Baker)


I started this second page with a quick sketch – using two felt-tips I drew a picnic blanket kind of pattern before blending with a waterbrush. I coloured the flower (and dots) with Papermania Watercolour Markers and an orange Sakura Souffle pen. The ants were doodled with a PITT pen, and the quote was added using Tipex (and outlined in black).

For more inspiration, and details on how to link up, visit the original challenge post here.

See ya later!

D x

P.S. If you’re a twitter user, use the #abloggers tag to connect with artists, illustrators and other creative bloggers. We’ve also started weekly #ablogger chats, on Wednesdays at 7.30pm GMT, come join in!


I cannot deny that I spend FAR too much time perusing my blog stats… not necessarily because I’m obsessed with how many followers I have, but more because I’m baffled by the stuff that interests people. Sometimes my lovely readers rave about posts I blasted out in five minutes, and the ones I adore, the ones that I’ve been thinking about and planning for ages are met with deathly silence.

One thing really surprised me today as I trawled through all those bar charts… my arty posts get all the views, but my book posts get all the comments. So how do you judge which are more successful? The short answer… you don’t. You make yourself a cuppa, you sit back down and you write about the things you love. Most of the time I will so confidently scream that I write for myself and nobody else, but like every blogger out there, sometimes I question myself. It’s completely natural, especially when you’re doing something as public as blogging, and if anyone says different they’re a big fat liar.

Hmm. What started out as a summary of my most popular posts in July seems to have morphed into a slightly obsessive blog analysis, so let’s get back to it. These are the posts most visited by you guys; you’re all clearly nuts but I love you anyway!

Windows of the Soul

An Octopus's Garden

Honouring Your Feelings

Going to the Zoo

[Click image to visit post]

 These are the ones picked by my stats page, but I also wanted to share a round-up of my Love Triangle 101 posts – these are the ones I’ve had the most fun with recently… so I hope you’ll take a second to check them out, but more importantly, check out the hosts of this great event over at A Novel Idea.


{Love Triangles 101} An Introduction

Under the Microscope: Before I Met You

{Love Triangles 101} When They Just Don’t Count

{Love Triangles 101} The Formula

{Love Triangles 101} From Story to Screen

Have a browse and let me know your views on love triangles… yay or nay?

And if you’ve written any posts you’ve really loved over the past month, leave me a link below… you know me, I’m always looking for new reading material!

D x

An Octopus’s Garden

Hello all, I had a heat induced blonde moment yesterday and forgot to post about the latest Quirky Crafts challenge! It was my turn to come up with the theme (An Octopus’s Garden), so I can’t wait to see what everyone creates! Basically, I want all entries to incorporate something from a garden and something underwater. Quirky enough? I hope so!

For more Design Team inspiration and info on how to link up, visit the original challenge post. For now, here’s the art journal page I came up with:

I started out this art journal page by copying out the lyrics to Octopus’s Garden with a Sharpie, and then covering it in an acrylic wash. I then added another layer of paint, by sponging it over an octopus shaped mask. I coloured the ‘Butterfly Blossoms’ image from Paper Pretties with felt tips and gel pens, and added a few smudges of craft paint and gesso, to make my garden seem like it was under the water. Originally the butterfly was joined to the flowers, but I snipped him off and moved him, because I thought a butterfly flying around under the sea was appropriately whimsical. My final touches included a doodled border, and a sentiment borrowed from an old copy of Cosmo. All completed while watching the feat of cinematic genius (and appropriately themed) Deep Blue Sea.

Remember, any arts and crafts can be entered into this challenge… scrapbook pages, ATC’s, cards, embroidery, sculptures, doodles, cake decorations, posters, canvases, wall hangings, beadwork… anything that inspires you!

D x

P.S. Listen to this song for more ideas.


Going to the Zoo

I can never decide whether I love Sundays or hate them… on the one hand it is the day of lie-ins, roast dinners and general laziness BUT it is also the time bomb that ultimately explodes into Monday Mornings (and we all know how evil those are). One good thing about Sundays is that the new Quirky Crafts challenge goes live. This week the theme is ‘Daddy’s taking me to the zoo tomorrow’ (as in the song), so we want to see something with zoo animals on please! Check out the original challenge post for some design team inspiration, and instructions for how to link up.

As I’ve said before, I’m always looking for ways to use the digital images we work with in a new way. Here’s what I came up with this week, using ‘Chameleon’ from Bugaboo:


Step 1 – Trace your image.

As the lines are quite thick on this one, I traced along both edges.


Step 2 – Transfer the traced shapes onto coloured paper.

This is easy as pie, simply flip your traced image onto your paper of choice (I used a few scraps of hand painted paper left over from other projects) and go over outlines using a pen, pencil of bone folder.


Step 3 – Reassemble your image, and glue down.

Depending on the image you’ve chosen, you could adhere the pieces straight onto your background, but as I had lots of fiddly pieces I stuck them all onto my tracing and covered in a layer of PVA. If you use wet glue on tracing paper it is going to warp, but this can always be fixed later.


Step 4 – Stick the picture onto your art journal page.

I adhered my chameleon to a ready prepped background and weighted it down with a couple of heavy books to de-warp. The background was a page in my sketchbook that I’d used to clean excess paint off a couple of stencils and brushes, but I think it looks like it was designed with this little guy in mind! I outlined each collaged piece using a black sharpie, but I left the bulk of the outlines clear – I like that you can see the background through the tracing paper, it definitely helps this chameleon to camouflage! The final touch was a sharpie border (as I wanted to balance out the black outlines), and done!

I really love how this page has turned out, and I can’t wait to try out this technique with some other images!

Enjoy what’s left of your Sunday,

D x