Category Archives: DIY


DIY Do it Yourself

I’m a big fan of DIY and I love the color Indigo.  Finding great creative ideas on the web is easy, especially with Pinterest.

Here’s my next project,  Shibori Dish Towels, from Alice & Lois,

Alice and Lois DIY Shibori indigo blue tie dye dish towels
photograph courtesy of Alice and Lois.

DIY Drawing Charcoal Holder

bamboo stalk with vine charcoalDIY Drawing Charcoal Holder

Another DIY, do it yourself, project using recycled materials.  Working with charcoal can be a messy affair.  There are times when using a charcoal holder not only keeps your hands cleaner but it can also give you more control.  This charcoal holder can be used with the slim  vine or compressed charcoal.

Materials & Supplies

  • Bamboo: Dried bamboo stalks can be found at decorator and florist shops.
  • Packing wire
  • glue
  • sharpie
  • tape
  • saw
  • vice


You will need a bamboo stalk with an opening the diameter of your charcoal.  I was able to use the bamboo from an orchid plant; the bamboo was used to hold up the flower stem.  Make sure your bamboo has nodes as divider segments

charcoal_holder_split_to_nodeFrom the divider node of the bamboo, measure an inch up, toward the top where the charcoal will be, and mark.  The node keeps the bamboo from splitting completely.

Put the bamboo in a vice with the bottom facing up.  The vice will hold the bamboo while you saw.     Make the first cut, saw down the shaft of the bamboo to the 1″ mark.  You can wrap tape around the shaft at the bottom end  to hold bamboo together while you saw down the shaft.  Remove the tape.

charcoal_holder_bindWind the wire around the shaft, not too tight as you will want to slide it up and down.  Make a wire stop to keep the wire from sliding off the bamboo. With the saw, gently score around the shaft of the bamboo, about a third of the way down the shaft from the bottom end.  Apply glue in the score and wrap the wire around the glued scored area and let it dry for a day.

To decorate the charcoal holder, wrap the shaft with yarn.



DIY Drawing Viewer

I’m a big fan of DIY, do it yourself, especially when I can recycle materials.  In my drawing class I saw that Nora made herself a gridded drawing viewer.  “It was simple”, she explained, “A plastic sheet, with a grid drawn on it and taped to a piece of cardboard.”  I saw that she even taped a 4 level grayscale on it.  Clever!  A drawing viewer helps in composing; a gridded viewer helps with proportions.  It is a very useful tool.

Materialdrawing_viewers & Tools


Decide the sizedrawing_viewer3 you want for your grid.  I used a 4×4 grid of 1″ squares; 4 squares across and down.  A 1/2″ or 3/4″ boarder will work.  Detach the plastic lid from the container and peel off the label.  There was adhesive residue left on the plastic which I was able to clean off with butter, then wash with dish soap, and a rinse with vinegar.  Be gentle with the plastic so you don’t scratch it.  Measure a square on to the plastic, in this case a 5×5 inch square, 4 inches for the grid and a 1/2 inch boarder on each side .  I cut the plastic with my box cutter.

Use a ruler to mark and draw your grid.  I used a Sharpie fine point permanent marker.  You may have to test that your marker works on the type of plastic you use.  My Sharpie didn’t like the plastic I used and I had to prime it on plain paper several times, hence the messy lines.  I also added diagonal lines, something I learned from watching Master Forger, John Myatt, on his show “Fame in the Frame”.

drawing_viewer4.jpgMeasure the size of your grid, without the boarder, on to the mat board and using the box cutter and a ruler, cut it out.  In my case I measured a 4″ square.  I made “over cuts” to the square, cut a bit longer than 4″ (4 1/16), to make it easier to have clean cut corners.  My book making instructor, Victoria, always said to be patient when cutting mat board.  You will need to make several passes to completely cut through the mat board; I usually make 3-4 passes.

IMG_2523Center your mat board frame on to the plastic grid.  To help position the grid to the frame, I put a small piece of packing tape on the back of the plastic grid with part of the sticky side exposed, not taped to the plastic.  Turn the plastic over and center the mat board frame over it.  When it is centered, I press the mat board on to the exposed tape which anchors it in place.  Turn the pieces over and tape the remaining sides.  Cut out your grayscale and tape to the front.  I made also made a smaller grid, a 2×2 grid.