Hidden Panda Purse

I have a friend, her name is Julie (I have more friends that just Julie, but this post concerns only her). She’s a bit bonkers about pandas, even though frogs are clearly way better than pandas. I wanted to whip up something cheery, yet pandary for her, and decided on a little coin purse.

Coin Purse

The fabric was one of my fat quarter impulse buys which I am prone to, but it’s clearly bright and happy. “But wait!” I hear you say, “wait! I thought you said, Lyn, that this was pandary!”. Well it is. I hid the pandas inside.

Sneaky Pandas

See, this way, should Jools choose to use her coin purse in public, she can hide the fact that she’s a panda nutso from the general population, and see pandas only for herself. Surprise! Pandas!

There are two kinds of purse frame you can get, sew in or glue in. I went with sew in, because me and glue don’t always get along very well and sometimes there’s angry words.

Stitched Frame

Of course in this close up you can see where I botched the thread. Don’t look. The thread obviously goes through the pre-punched holes, and is for the most part hidden behind the inside of the frame, so it’s pretty neat and tidy.

Overall, this came out okay. I’m not 100% happy with the shape, but I can improve that next time (sorry Jools!). It also came together really quickly, the longest part is sewing the purse onto the frame. Getting the purse and lining done was the work of about half an hour.

To make this, I followed the tutorial at Skip to My Lou.

Lamp Facelift

Today was hot, too hot to do things that involved a lot of thought. Mostly it was too hot to do anything but silently curse everyone I know who happens to have real aircon. So today’s project was simple, quick and turned out pretty well actually (you do detect a note of surprise). Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my bedside lamp.  As it was this morning, anyway.
Lamp, BeforeIt was a lovely lamp, that cast a warm light even with the white energy saver bulb in it, but as you can see the paper shade was a little (by which I mean a lot) worse for wear. This is actually the good side, the other side was more water stained. This is due to a persistent roof leak which is over my bed. Also the paper was torn from being dropped a lot, and what you can’t see is enough pin holes to render the side perforated. I have a terrible habit of keeping my pins and needles nice and handy in any available lampshade.

So on to the makeover! I started out by removing all the “lamp” bits – not so much for safety, but because they would be in the way. Though safety is probably a decent reason too, now I come to think of it. I cut around the top and bottom of the shade, just beside the support hoops. Once I’d done that, I unpeeled the paper from the join. It came off in one piece, and I’m sure I can think of something to do with it later. Then came the hard, boring part:

Glue Everywhere

Hard, nasty glue all over the support hoops. In theory, I could have left this on. However I knew I’d look at it later and think “Should have scraped that off”. This was really the hardest bit, it took about an hour of scraping, poking and peeling using fingernails, craft knives and butter knives. Soaking the stuff in water helped a lot, making it soft and peely and kind of oddly satisfying to remove.

Now to the materials chosen. Something you should know about me is that I’m partial to brown string. I love the look, feel and smell of the stuff. Actually I like most kinds of string, but brown string is my favourite. This meant I had quite a lot of brown string about the place, which I used to wrap the shade. I did this in front of the DVD of “Love, Actually” however you can choose any movie you like, there’s no rules here.

Wrapping the string

I don’t know if you can really tell, but I wrapped it by going from the top, around the front side of the bottom hoop, up around the back and then to the front side of the top hoop. It works out to an elongated figure 8 shape – there’s probably a ton of other ways to do it, but I like the even top and bottom this way. My string is the cheap stuff, so it’s full of lovely knobbly wonky bits, which I left alone. If you wanted a smoother look, you could do this with yarn, or expensive smooth string. Up to you. Actually variegated yarn would look pretty cool, I’ll remember that for later (no I won’t).


Once the sections got full, it was a case of squeezing the ball through – just push the string you’ve already wrapped out of the way. You can even it out later. You’ll be surprised how many more wraps you can squeeze in this way, and it goes a long way to covering the support bar things too, if you pop an extra wrap in and push it over to hide the bar.

I did the whole shade in one kind of string, but changing it up would look really nice. Stripes! Everyone loves stripes. I also chose to go vertically,  but a horizontal wrap would work. The only thing is that the sides wouldn’t curve, so you’d end up with a straight sided shade. If that floats your boat, by all means do it that way.

I just did plain old knots to hold the string in place. Once it was all wrapped up, I dabbed some glue on the knots and when that was dry, cut off most of the tail. The “internal” knots where I joined the end of a ball of string to the start of a new one I just pushed to the back and didn’t worry about.

Now, once you’ve got your lamp all wrapped up, all that remains is to reassemble the lamp bits, plug it in and switch it on.

Lit Up

It’s a good deal less bright than the old shade, but it’s plenty bright enough to read by. I’d suggest using a cool LED or energy saver bulb if you’re not already. If you do find the lamp too dark to read by (assuming you’re doing this to a lamp you read near) you can always push the string around on the side you sit on to let more light out.

Sometimes, a project comes out looking exactly like it did in my head. I’m just as surprised as you are, seriously.


My fiancé is, if I’m honest, a bit of a nerd. He’s pretty into Batman also. So much so that I am not permitted to mention Shark Repellent Spray, which is a shame because I personally think that is the best thing that ever happened in Batman. He’s also pretty keen on sending me links to handmade nerdy stuff which he then makes sad puppy eyes about. I promise to make him one and then never do, because I am a terrible person.

To make it up to him, and also to keep his neck warm, for Christmas this year I made him a Batscarf. Not so terrible afterall!

I haven’t done a proper tutorial, because it wasn’t that complicated really and any crafty types out there can figure it out. Starting at the top, we have the Batsignal, which is made of felt. The yellow felt is on top of the black because it was easier to place the logo correctly like that. It’s blanket stitched around the signal, and while I did plan to blanket stitch the actual signal onto the scarf, it turns out I’m quite lazy and used the machine. So lazy, so quick!

City Skyline

The city skyline is, I think, Singapore somewhere. It’s another layer of fleece over the dark blue, machine stitched around and then cut out – so much easier than pinning little skinny buildings down and then having the machine eat the fleece halfway along. The windows are more felt. These are hand stitched on because the machine, as I just mentioned a second ago, eats little things. To be honest, I was going to skip the city lights, but I’m glad I didn’t – it looks so much better “lit up”


At the bottom, to break up all the black and balance the design (good lord that sounded good, I’m writing that down on a piece of paper to use again) I put in an outline of Batman himself. I like to think he’s gazing out over the city, about to respond to the call of the signal. Or he could have his back to the city, but also  have his eyes closed. Works both ways.

To hide the back of the stitching, the whole thing is backed with black fleece and then topstitched around the edges, which was a bitch to do on the three layers at the bottom, but worth it. I like the border effect.

Whole ScarfI’ve thumbnailed the last shot as it’s long, and also I know you like to click things. The whole thing is just over 5 feet long, and hopefully will keep the chap warm in the face of the Chicago winter, which is very snowfilled because it’s ridiculous.