25 Oct

A bookcase-staircase

bookcase staircase b jemima schleebookcase staircase a jemima schlee

photographs by Emma Sekhon

…personalise your journey up to bed…

you will need:

paperback or hardback books
*(see ‘tip’ below)

digital camera

mounting card (I used black)

measuring tape

scalpel and steel rule

cutting mat

spray mount

matt varnish and brush or small roller

staple gun (or Gripfix)


Cut your mounting board to the measurement of your stair risers
(the vertical faces of your steps).


Take several photographs of book spines with a digital camera. To get a good, sharp image, use a tripod or rest your camera on or against a solid surface when taking your photographs. You need to use some mathematics here to work out how much you need to enlarge your images by – your local print shop should be able to help you with this. I had my book spines enlarged to within 1cm – 4cm of my risers’ width.


Ask your print shop for A3 or A2 laser prints from your digital photos giving them your required measurements. If you get A3 prints, make sure you ask for an overlap where the two halves of the images meet. A3 prints can be pieced together when mounted on the card by overlapping the two halves and cutting through both layers with the scalpel against a steel rule, then removing the two excess scraps carefully.


Using spray mount, (in a well ventilated space and with care) stick the book spines in ones, twos and threes to your mounting board depending on the books’ thickness. Trim any over-hanging edges of photocopy paper with the scalpel and steel rule.


Give your panels two coats of matt varnish making sure they dry fully in between coats.


Take a bit of time to arrange your mounting board panels up your staircase. When you are happy with the order they’re in, attach them with a staple gun (for a temporary arrangement) or Gripfix (for a more permanent one). Once in position, give them a couple more coats of matt varnish to minimise scuffing.


Play around with your choice of book titles:

The Big Sleep

Quite Ugly One Morning

The Long Goodbye

Farewell my Lovely…

25 Oct

Crochet easter eggs

Crochet Speckled Eggs-2

…I’ll have half a dozen pretty please!…

You will need
1 x 50g ball of white cotton double
knit (DK) yarn
Scraps of blue embroidery threads
(in three different shades from light to dark)
 4mm crochet hook
Stitch marker
Hollowfibre or cotton stuffing

st(s) stitch(es)
ch chain
ss slip stitch
dc double crochet

Pattern note
These instructions are for a plain egg. Use various amounts of blue embroidery threads with the white cotton to create speckled variegated tones and stripes. Simply cut a length of embroidery cotton and crochet doubled with the DK cotton.
Using crochet hook, ch 2 (counts as a st), dc 5 into second ch from hook, ss into first st. 6 sts.
Mark end of round with a stitch marker.
Round 1: 2dc into each st to end of round. 12 sts.
Round 2: 1dc into each st to end of round. 12 sts.

Round 3: *1dc into first st, 2dc into next st, rep from * to end of round. 18 sts.
Round 4: 1dc into each st to end of round. 18 sts.
Round 5: *1dc into next 2 sts, 2dc into
next st, rep from * to end of round. 24 sts.
Round 6: 1dc into each st to end of round. 24 sts.
Round 7: *1dc into next 3 sts, 2dc into
next st, rep from * to end of round. 30 sts.
Round 8: 1dc into each st to end of round. 30 sts.
Round 9: 1dc into each st to end of round. 30 sts.
Round 10: 1dc into each st to end of round. 30 sts.
Round 11: *1dc into next 4 sts, skip the
next st, rep from * to end of round. 24 sts.
Round 12: 1dc into each st to end of round. 24 sts.
Round 13: *1dc into next 3 sts, skip the
next st, rep from * to end of round. 18 sts.
Round 14: *1dc into next 2 sts, skip the
next st, rep from * to end of round. 12 sts. Stuff firmly.
Round 15: *1dc into next st, skip the next st, rep from * to end of round. 6 sts.
Hook the thread through all remaining stitches and tie off.

…five more to go!…

25 Oct

Pebble pocket tablecloth

pebble pocket tablecloth a jemima schlee

photograph by Emma Sekhon

… add corner pockets to a tablecloth and weigh down with pebbles for hassle-free al fresco dining…

you will need:

a square or rectangle of fabric
(the size of your cloth when finished)
scraps of fabric to make your pockets
(these could be in a contrasting fabric)
1.5cm wide ribbon
(the circumference of your tablecloth fabric + 15cm)
1m contrasting rikrak
measuring tape
sewing needle, thread & pins
sewing machine
sharp scissor & iron


Cut 4 triangle pockets with your extra fabric using the template, one for each corner of your tablecloth. Cut your rickrack into four lengths and stitch one along the long edge of each pocket triangle.


Lay your tablecloth fabric right side up in front of you. fold all 4 edges in by 1cm and press with a hot iron. Place a pocket triangle, again right side up on each corner and tucking the two raw edges of each pocket into the fold of the tablecloth edges. Pin or tack them in position.


Pin your ribbon around the outside edge of your tablecloth so that it covers the raw edges of the fold. Make careful mitres in the corners and fold and overlap the finishing end to cover the beginning end of the ribbon. pin or tack in position before topstitching a mm or two along each edge of the ribbon…..done!

25 Oct

hedgehog pin cushion

…aw! cute…

A great, quick little make – use up scraps of wool or felt and spare little buttons.

You will need:
two pieces of felt or wool
(each measuring 12cm x 8cm minimum)
sewing needle, thread and pins
sewing machine
sharp scissors


Using the template, cut two pieces of wool or felt.
Lay one on top of the other (right sides together
if your fabrics have a right side) and pin.
Step 1


Sew a 3mm hem all around by machine,leaving a gap several cm wide along one side for turning out.

Step 2


Turn out through the opening and stuff with hollow fibre.You can use cotton wool, but this can be a bit dense.Sew up the opening by hand with small stitches and with your thread doubled.
Step 3


Sew on two little buttons for the eyes
and one tiny one for the nose
– it does matter if the buttons don’t match –
it’ll just add character!
. . . finally, add your glass-headed pins.
I get slightly carried away with co-ordination and only keep red and orange glass-headed beads in mine!
24 Oct

Dorset buttons tutorial


… make your own decorative buttons – any size any colour – an addictive project, great for taking to make on journeys …

I had a wonderful time at Knitting & Stitching in Olympia yesterday – a little (and VERY busy) workshop making dorset buttons on the day my first book was published! I ran out of worksheets, so as promised here is a tutorial for the little buttons which feature in my first two books – if you play around with colours you can create a myriad of unique designs – use them on linen & cotton clothes, to secure little purses, as little badges or simply to decorate projects…

you will need (for each button):

1 x 2cm brass curtain ring

1 x skein of 6-strand cotton embroidery thread

1 x blunt ended tapestry needle

sharp scissors

& the courage to un-do your work if it goes wrong!


Cut a 1m – 1.5m length of embroidery cotton and thread onto a blunt ended tapestry needle. If your thread gets twisted whilst you work it will knot very easily, so just hold your work by the needle now and again so that it hangs freely and can spin to untwist the thread.Tie the end of your cotton onto your curtain ring – the first half of a knot or doing up your shoelaces. Start working with the short tail to the right of the knot – turn your ring here if necessary. Working clockwise around the ring, make five or six tight blanket stitches, making sure they cover the thread tail end.

step 1


You can now snip the tail end flush to the brass ring and continue wrapping it in blanket stitch until it is completely covered. Now run your needle and thread through the top of the first stitch to complete the round. Twist the stitches on the ring so that the outer blanket stitch ridge is positioned on the inside.

step 2


Wrap the thread around the ring top to bottom, and then twice more as evenly distanced apart as you can, to create 6 ‘spokes’ – at this point the threads will appear quite uneven and random.

step 3


Make two or three tight stitches at the central crossing-over of the thread spokes to even them out. Finish with your thread at the front of your button (just choose which side looks neater), and between two spokes.

step 4


Start filling your button. Insert your needle through to the back of the needle over the adjacent spoke on its right. Push the needle back through to the front of your button two spokes to the left (this includes the one on the right you have just stitched over, so that it emerges between the 1st & 2nd spokes to the left of its starting position.

step 5


Continue repeating this ‘backstitch’, in effect you will be stitching anti-clockwise around the ring in a spiral until you run out of space on your spokes. You will have small gaps between the top of the spokes. These gaps are less evident, almost non-existent, the more ‘spokes’ you wrap around your ring at step 3, making step 7 unnecessary.

step 6


Turn your button over and work clockwise around the spokes with a small backstitch at the top of each spoke, in effect filling the gaps. Finish your work off with two or three small, tight stitches.

step 7

…and finally…


Still working on the back of your work, feed your needle back through to the centre point of the button and use it to attach the button to a garment, bag, brooch clip or piece of card!

step 8

Well done, n e x t . . . 

orange dorset button - jemima schlee

orange dorset button – jemima schlee