#29 Stencilling and Fabric Painting

This is probably my quickest ever post but its about a craft that I’m into big time at the moment- Stencilling & Fabric Painting. Its actually two different crafts but I’m quite interested in using them together.

I’d acquired some gorgeous Calico from Ebay last year and I was hoping to run off a couple of handmade totes with perhaps some simple lettering on them. For example a Tote bag with the word ‘Books’ or a simple book icon would be the sort of thing I was after.

Calico: Cotton Fabric


The fabric paints I went for are the Memory Professional Artists paints I obtained from Amazon not so long ago. So, I have practically no previous experience of buying fabric paints and knew little other than I wanted them to be permanent (of course) and easy to work with (requiring no fancy extra accessories or tools). Following the Amazon reviews, which I find are always incredibly helpful before making a decision to buy, I opted for the MPA paints and found them pretty good value for money.

So, then come your application tools. I opted for the Royal and Langnickel Stencil Value Pack. Again, nothing too fancy here but they seem to be sufficient for the job I needed to do.

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The Practice Run: Theory…….

I had a 20min window between finishing some house chores and picking up my daughter from nursery so just threw myself in. My kit had been sitting there for a while and I was actually quite excited to see what it could all do….. and also how easy/hard the printing was going to be. A practice run so to speak.

I knew 20mins was never really going to be enough time to do justice to the end result but I was prepared for that to be the case. SO I began with the idea of a little zippered bag for toy building blocks that always seem to be lying about. Anyone with wee ones will no there is never shortage of those stray crayons/blocks/cars etc that seem to escape from their larger packs!


The idea was to stencil block the letters L.E.G.O on the front of the bag before sewing the actual bag and adding a zipper.

Begin by ironing the fabric you will be printing on.

You would then place a thick sheet of card or similar under the fabric you will paint on, in case of paint leaking through to whatever is underneath! Beware of using cardboard that will stick to your fabric underneath once its been painted on. The ‘glossier’ the protective sheet is, the better!

The paints would then be applied using the stencil brushes (or sponges) and you would allow 24hrs of air drying before ironing the BACK of the print with a fairly hot iron (being careful not to burn the fabric of course) and then voila you have your printed fabric.

A prewash of the fabric is suggested but I didn’t do this due to time limitations. Finally a hand wash of the fabric is also suggested, which I may try depending on how the printing and drying goes.

And there you have it…. in theory🙂

Post Practice Run: Hind-sights

I would probably assign more time to this because 20mins will just fly by and there’s no point rushing these things. For the accuracy and sake of tidiness I probably should’ve given this about an hour.


Preparation of stencil letters would help immensely. Free-styling letters is a no-no and will give you a sloppy untidy finish, which you probably don’t want. My lettering was smudged, which was to be expected without stencils.

Block lettering gives an effective look so its worth cutting out block stencils in fairly good quality card and watching some YouTube videos on the topic before diving in.

This is a helpful tutorial by Craft Cuts which serves a good demonstration of the stencilling and printing process:

Having a palette for your paints, somewhere to rinse your brushes and some paper towels/ tissue will help keep you work-efficient.

Finally, this is an impressive and thoroughly enjoyable craft, I can see immense possibilities opening up with it. Tote bags are pretty easy to make and of course better for the environment because they’re reusable. Fabric painting is not limited to bags, you can create prints on T-shirts, Tea Towels, Table-Cloths, Bed-sheets etc but I would probably look at the sort of paints available on the market and which have been tried and tested for the purpose you need to use them. There’s certainly no lack of options on the market.

For now, I just need to see how things dry over the next 24hrs before I can get to sewing that cute zip bag. Excited.

I want to leave you with a couple of tutorials on sewing Tote simple tote bags, if you are interested, you can view these on YouTube!

  1. How to sew a simple tote bag – OnlineFabricStore.net

2. How to sew a tote bag – Professor Pincushion

Happy Painting All

Sabeena x

Disclaimer – LEGO is a registered trademark and I do not own or claim to own the trademark name in any way. The products shown are for display purpose only and not for commercial purposes.






#28 On the Needles in April!

I have been desperate to get this post out for a while and without further ado here it finally is.

We moved flat earlier this month and are experiencing some delays in setting up ie broadband and switching utility companies etc. Throw in an energetic 3 year old and boisterous 18month old to the mix and i hope you will imagine the challenge we had on our hands? …but nevertheless we have moved and are more or less settled🙂


Plenty of crafting was still going on especially on the knitting front. I know, i dont think thats happened to me before! RE-discovered some old podcasts i avidly followed once in my pre-baby days and i learnt a few new skills here and there. As we still have no broadband connection, 1 month on, i feel this might be a great opportunity to cash in on more skill development time…and why not?

[I have to apologise for my previous March post- it was admittedly a little rushed and the imbedded pictures left a lot to be desired – the impending move had a lot to do with that im afraid…but its something i’m working on]

So here’s what i got up to in April…..

Vintage Granny Shawl

Completed! I flew threw the last few balls and managed to crochet on an improvised scalloped edge to give it a more vintage-esque aesthetic… and im happy to say i have it on my sofa all the time, ready for me to wrap over my shoulders when it gets a little nippy and it hasnt disappointed. A couple of gold vintage inspired buttons given to me by an aunt added a further touch of retro glamour to my shawl. Cosy cosy..



My Fair Isle Fascination

Fair Isle designs have always caught my attention…the colours, the skill…completely awe-inspiring. However this seemed to be a whole different world of knitters and knitt-ing to a novice as myself. Recently, for some unknown reason i had become a sort of woman possessed…it was like a fair isle obsession from nowhere, i just really wanted to give this phenomenon a go!. (Running before walking as such is a phrase that comes to mind)…but whether i was going to be any good was another matter…i wanted to at least try it.
One night with the kids tucked up in bed, husband working late, i got hold of some needles and a few balls of yarn in different colours…armed with my phone i sat down and let you-tube teach me a bit about fair isle for beginners….. Voila!


If i had to name this ‘scarf’..it would be my trainspotter scarf (no offense to trainspotters)..simply because it brought out a happy geek in me! Essentially, its just free-styled fair isle and the colour scheming is proving to be a helpful exercise- inspiring other possible scarf projects and helping me to visualise what yarns work together and which definitely don’t.

And contrary to my sister’s advice, i might even consider wearing it myself once its complete….again, why not?

Its definitely not something i would only try once, i fear Fair Isle might become a little addictive once you do get the hang of it…. time will tell.

The pink scarf request

April is still very much cold enough for big coats, fluffy scarves and woolly gloves so when my almost-4yr-old specifically requested a ‘pink scarf mummy’ the pressure was on.


I haven’t completed a scarf before but being a great beginner project i had tried a few times…but then ripped them out shortly after too.
Hopefully this time i will get one finished for her. Will fair isle sneak in there somewhere?….Never say never😉

Some YouTube videos i found usefull if you are interested in beginner fair isle knitting:

1. Knitting tutorial by iKnits

2. Tutorial by KNITfreedom

3. Reading patterns, adding colour and 2 colour fair isle by Kristen Leigh



#27 Spring Makes – March

March has been frantic for me this year; my birthday & Mothers’ Day (UK) almost super-imposing,  reshuffling & reorganising for an imminent flat change in April (exciting) as well as the usual school run with my almost-4-year-old, 18-month old in tow.

The seasonal changes haven’t gone unnoticed however! Cherry blossoms and those blink-and-you’ll-miss-them daffodils have announced the much awaited arrival of Spring! Phew, so glad February is over (cooooold)!


This month there hasn’t been a lot of ‘free’ time to dedicate to craft projects per se….but I have continued to indulge in a bit of reading and of course work on my knitted, cream shawl which is really starting to take shape as I add an improvised border in white. I have decided to give this shawl a name and call it my Vintage Granny Shawl! It’s the sort of overall effect I am hoping to create. I hope you see what I mean.


Short bursts of crafting have been possible; I have always found these to be stress-busting, especially when there’s not a lot of free time. So, here are two mini projects I have been able to fulfill this month….

Pretty Daffodil Vase

Ok, so daffodils are at their most beautiful when rooted in the soil from which they sprout of course, but when your pre-schooler hands you a bunch of (uprooted) daffodils you need to think quick and give them a new home, and why not put them somewhere you can admire and enjoy them too?

A couple of pasta jars can make the perfect small vase for flowers, to pretty things up.


Dressing up!

With my older miss turning 4 in May, she certainly knows her mind! When a recent request for a ‘Bubble Guppies’ dress was made I was a bit stuck; it’s US-animation and I would struggle to find anything decent online. Also, sizes are hard to gauge when browser shopping. The only way, and quickest way by far was to pencil a sketch and make one myself.

Now, I have made many dresses, for myself and little miss of course, I tend to have quite a rustic finish to my dresses..ahem ahem. Ok, so they are far from perfect but certainly unique!

I tried my hand at a little embroidery (not something I have done much of) and the outcome was satisfactory. Anyway, it took me a little over a day to finish the dress and here is the finished product.


I am looking ahead to April; we are moving to another flat. No doubt this will bring a whole new wave of making and creating with it. And that is always something to be excited about.

Happy Crafting All.


#26 Inspired February

When Christmas becomes a hazy memory and the lull of the new year has officially worn off- you know its February.

January bills paid (almost) and the bank account is hung over. Its the time you look to sorting paperwork, updating records and getting more or less used to writing ‘2016’!

I spent the last few weeks just trying to get back into some sort of order and routine, following a short visit to London in the New Year. When we got back there was a sense of newness in the air- a peace, a calm, a new start. A welcome and beautiful feeling.


Health & Diet

I’m not one for diets, but having a healthy diet is important. Getting back into ‘healthy fruits and veg’ is bound to be hard after all the comforting stodge Christmas and New Year had to offer. That’s when my sister gave me the idea of the super-simple smoothie which even someone as restless and preoccupied as myself can benefit from!


It works with anything you have around at the time, you just need a good blender to whizz it all together for you. It takes minutes and proved to be an easy way to get about 3+ portions of your 5-a-day in without having to chomp your way though the (cold and uninviting) fruit😉

I use 1x Banana, 2x satsumas, 1x pear, 1x apple, grated carrot, chopped spinach, half cucumber, berries, a splash of any fruit juice – in any combination! There, easy and delicious.

Books, Books, Books

I love popping to the local library with the kids when I get the chance. Over the last couple of weeks they’ve have had a small sale on books; some going for as cheap as 10 pence! Well, you can imagine how happy that would make a bibliophile like myself…….


Esther’s inheritance is a gem I picked up at the sale, never having read anything by Sandor Marai previously. The Sunday Telegraph likened the ‘rediscovery’ of Marai in these works as finding an Old master painting in the attic. I would have to agree; there is an air of timeless elegance about his work, this in particular. A short read and a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to discovering and reading more of his work in the year ahead.

Personal Endeavours…

My Family Tree


The journal in the picture above is the very same I had featured in a much earlier post about my crafty & cultural experiences around Scotland during a short trip here in 2013. I absolutely love this journal and have been using it to map out my family tree- a wonderful project I’m working on with my dear Granny and Grandad whenever I get the chance to visit them (they are in London, of course); they definitely love being involved and me being the data freak that I am, is savouring every detail.

I have been looking to load my information into a suitable software program, as the vastness and complexity of the information requires much careful management. So I’ll keep on the look-out for that. Its an amazing project to be working on and one that I hope will expand into a sort of resource for the family and my future generations!

Knitted Shawl

I spent so long on crochet projects recently that I was worried I would lose the skill to knit (gasp)! I started myself on a simple knitted shawl and ‘phew’ I was knitting again.


Its a plain shawl with a simple (knit-purl)* stitch format. Putting to good use the cream woolly balls my mum had left stashed away amongst her belongings. I think a repetitive pattern such as this is a good way to practice and tidy up your hand and again its a fun thing to do when you’re watching the telly or sitting with the kids while they play. And if I can get it finished before winter is out, I’ll have a snuggly shawl to wrap up in during those cold, stormy, Scottish evenings.





#25 Abstract January

“I’m looking for an inspiration. Looking at life as it is, its meanings, I’m looking for answers. I am inspired by beauty; beautiful people, stories, shapes and colours. Colours that bring beauty to life. My colour is red.


If I attribute a shape to my life it will not be square or round, it will be a heart. A heart full of love and thoughts…happy and sad… and full of other things. Things I love. Love is red.

Love is beauty, my love, everyone’s love.


I’m looking for an inspiration. I don’t know if I’ll find it in something I see, smell, taste, hear or feel. It might be in someone I know, or will just meet.

I know I would be inspired all the time, if only my heart and mind were in concerted rhythm, but this is seldom the case. I don’t know if that’s just me……or if its meant to be.


I love writing, I am looking for Inspiring words. I wish my life to read like a beautiful piece of work, with all the love and tragedy I have known. I want the moments of elation and moments of tension to shape the story. I want it to be mines. I want..I want….I want…..


I want to collect my thoughts, my mind likes to wander, to scatter… outside my window, around the world, in this time and another.

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I need an inspiration. Seeing is not always believing. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. I want change…. wait…. no I don’t, not entirely and not suddenly. I want pace.

I want to be knowledgeable and have all worldly wisdom, I want to meet and admire the wise. I want to learn. Learn about what I like and love. I want art and culture. Knowledge is empowering. I want to possess this power. Power is red


I’m looking for an inspiration. Will I have it today, tomorrow, or never? Is my inspiration you? Will you ever know?

We are non the wiser with the affairs of the heart. It cannot think, but it does. You cannot deny that it does. We follow where it leads, and sometimes this is to nowhere. The heart is red.


I am looking for an inspiration. Perhaps my inspiration is me. I am strong, sure and sensitive. I am robust and delicate. I can be what I want to be. I am me”





On time and nuns and MP3s

A beautiful post by Victoria Finlay that I simply can’t put into words. This fabulous lady is a woman after my own heart! The pictures included in the post are to die for. Gorgeous and needing a share!

Victoria Finlay

P1040645In Ladakh, northern India, a few days ago, I decided to walk from the city of Leh to Choglamsar Tibetan refugee camp, where I had taught for a summer, 30 years ago. It was five km, and I was determined not to ask the way.

I asked the way.

So much had changed. There had once been three shops, Now. Well, now there are more.

In the office I explained my story. The man looked blank until I mentioned the Buddhist nun who had shared her room with me in children’s house number 8. Then he jumped up and disappeared into another room. Ani Garab is here, he said.

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