Creative Summer Challenge | Be Prepared

Creative Summer Challenge | Be Prepared

We’ve thrown this challenge at you with no warning, other than a quick post yesterday, so you may need to spend some time getting prepared before the Creative Summer Challenge starts next week.


If you’re planning to draw or paint in a sketchbook, pick a size and shape that’s comfortable to work in and make sure the paper is suitable for your chosen medium.

If your visual journal is going to contain photographs, collages, pressed flowers, train tickets or the like, consider the best way to bring everything together. Notebooks, repurposed books, photo albums or scrapbooks are good options depending on the size of your intended collection and how you plan to store it when the challenge has finished.


visual diary for Slamseys creative summer challenge
Visual Diary by Madeleine Howard


A ring binder or portfolio make it easy to keep loose sheets of paper together or you could bind them together to make your own book.

Does your project need to be portable eg do you plan to take it away on holiday or on trips out for the day?

Consider the alternatives to using books. Frame your visual journal and hang it on the wall, make a mini cabinet of curiosities or display everything on a pinboard. You could just stuff everything into a box.

Alternatively, you could crochet a blanket, shoot videos, embroider a sampler, write a blog, make jewellery … the list is as long as your imagination. Anything goes.

If you need some inspiration, look at our Pinterest board.

The first week starts on Monday.

If you’d like to know who the challenge is for and how to join in, read yesterday’s post HERE.

Creative Summer Challenge

Creative Summer Challenge


It’s mid July, when thoughts turn to summer holidays, so it’s time for the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge!

The Challenge

Slamseys Creative Challenge Summer 2018

This summer, our challenge is to make a Visual Journal of Summer 2018. You don’t have to accept the challenge, but we’re throwing it out to you anyway.

Choose any medium for this challenge and decide how challenged you’d like to be! You could use it to record your summer, to develop a skill or build a bank of ideas to use in the future.

Each week we’ll give you a theme and some prompts that you can use or ignore.

Who can join in?

Anyone! Everyone!
Creative people wanting a challenge
Printmakers on our courses at Slamseys, who are looking for inspiration
Families who like a project for the summer holidays
Artists, photographers, sewers, knitters, potters, bloggers …

Are there any rules?

There are absolutely no rules. Take the challenge in whichever direction you desire and make your own rules.

What shall I put in my visual journal?

A record of your days
Your response to events, places or people
Your feelings and thoughts
Plans and ideas
Experiments with your craft
Whatever you wish.

Is there a place online to share my work?

There’s no pressure to share your work online but you can post it onto our Facebook page, tag @Slamseys in Instagram or leave a link to your blog in the comments below this or any of the Challenge posts.

If you’re sharing online, here are a few hashtag suggestions:
#artinprogress      #artjournal      #creativeprocess      #crochetlove      #dailydrawing      #doitfortheprocess      #foreverfaffing      #knitting      #printandpattern      #printmaking      #quilting      #reclaimed      #sketchbook      #slamseysinspiration      #stylingtheseasons      #textiles      #theartofgathering      #visualjournal      #wip

How do I join in?

If you’d like to join in and accept the challenge, just do it!

What next?

Tomorrow, we’ll give you some ideas to kick off the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge ready for the start on Monday.



Print your own Onion Patterned Beeswax Wraps

For the past year, along with much of the population, we’ve been looking at ways to reduce our dependence on single use plastic. I decided that rather than an evangelical purge of all single use plastic, it’s best to take small steps and ditching the cling film seemed the easiest way to start.

I had some commercial beeswax wraps that I’d used a few times and then forgotten about but with the zeal of a newly converted ‘no cling film user’ I started to use them regularly and realised they make a viable and more sustainable alternative to cling film. The only problem was that I didn’t have enough, so I decided to make my own, using the advice given in this post at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.

home made beeswax wraps printed with thermofax, onion, jelly print

Use patterned fabric that will hide the inevitable marks and stains that will appear or even better, print your own. The home made beeswax wraps above have been printed using thermofax, jelly printing and onions.

Home made beeswax wrap onion pattern printed over jelly print

To make Onion Patterned Beeswax Wraps, follow the instructions below. Use plain fabric or very pale patterned; in the picture above, I used an onion to overprint an unsuccesful jelly print, which has given some interesting patterning.



Print and make your own Beeswax Wraps


You will need:
Old towel
100% cotton fabric
1 large onion
Fabric Paint/Ink (or acrylic paint mixed with textile medium)
Palette or plate
Small sponge
Pure Beeswax pellets
Baking parchment


Lay your towel on a flat surface and spread your fabric on top.

Pull off any loose outer skin and cut the onion in half.

Put a small blob of fabric paint onto your palette and use the sponge to dip into the paint and dab it onto the cut side of the onion. You need a thin, an even covering of paint.

Press the onion (inked side down) firmly onto the fabric. Hey presto. You have a print.

Repeat your print until the fabric is covered and leave to dry.


When the fabric paint is completely dry, lay the towel on the ironing board and put a large piece of baking parchment on top.

Fold your fabric into six layers or if you’ve used several different pieces of fabric, just pile up six pieces of fabric and put them on top of your baking parchment, making sure there is a margin of at least 10 centimetres around the edge of the fabric in case the wax leaks.

Beeswax wrap making with wax pellets scattered over fabric

Sprinkle the wax pellets on top, cover with another piece of baking parchment, set your iron to the cotton setting and iron gently over the baking parchment. If the wax pellets are melting unevenly into the fabric, use the iron to push the wax to the dry spots.

Flip your baking parchment sandwich over and run your iron over again, pushing the wax to fill any more dry spots. If you have an excess of wax, just slip another piece of fabric under the baking parchment and iron again so that the new fabric soaks up the wax.

When your fabric has soaked up the wax, peel the fabric layers apart, taking care not to burn yourself as they may still be hot, and lay the fabric out to cool.

When it’s cold, the fabric will be slightly stiff with the wax.

Cut your waxed fabric to the sizes and shapes you require, using pinking shears if you’re worried that the fabric might fray. My largest wrap is about 35 cm x 35cm and the smallest one is 15cm x 10cm (perfect for wrapping a cut lemon).

You can also screen print your fabric using an embroidery hoop (see instructions here), use potato prints, jelly prints or block printing.

beeswax wrap jelly printed covering bowl

Beeswax wraps are ideal for keeping bread fresh, covering a bowl of dough that’s proving and for covering bowls of leftovers. Hold the wrap in place so that the warmth of your hands shapes it to the bowl. These home made beeswax wraps aren’t as clingy as cling film or the commercial beeswax wraps that use pine rosin and jojoba oil but I use a rubber band if I want a firmer seal.

beeswax wrap jelly printed made into origami box containing raspberries

You can use basic origami skills to make boxes or pouches, which makes them useful for packed meals.

After use, wash your beeswax wrap with cool water and a little washing up liquid and leave to dry. Don’t use them in the microwave because the wax will melt and don’t use them to wrap uncooked meat or fish.

After a year or so, either re-wax them using the original method or if they’re looking a little stained, use them as fire lighters or compost them.




Lately, we have had a spell of hot, sunny days. Lovely as it it to wake each day to a cloudless sky, we need some rain as there was none at all in June and the crops are suffering. Talk amongst the farmers at a party yesterday was that it will deluge just before harvest thereby giving the double whammy of poor yields that deteriorate further in the wet conditions. Pessimism or statistical realism?


Giant dog made from recycled cardboard, fabric and wooden pallet

Lately, there has been a giant dog sitting outside The Barley Barn. It’s an artistic interpretation of recycling and makes an interesting seating place. The bonus of the dry spell is that the giant dog has been evicted from the office, where it took up far too much room as it waited to be dragged out to installed in its current position.


Discussing a print in the printmaking barn at Slamseys

Lately, I have persuaded Ruth to contribute to Slamseys Journal. During the past year, Ruth has asked me several times to write about printmaking but I’ve largely ignored her and instead wittered on about rosehips and rose petals. This is entirely understandable, as I can easily reel off six things you can do with rose petals but am rather vague about making two colour screen prints, but it’s rather frustrating for Ruth.


Mud spattered boots in front of door

Lately, I have resurrected the Life in Mud Spattered Boots blog so that I have somewhere to write about random things that don’t quite fit in here.


Slamseys pond in summer

Lately a dip in the pond looks more enticing with every sun filled day. However, whenever Morris the fox terrier has taken a swim (which he has done several times recently) his progress has been marked by swirls of black mud. I suspect that there’s only a couple of feet of water above a deep muddy sludge, which is far from tempting.