Saturday, 18 January 2014

Dad’s Album–A Wee Sporran

I’ve been working on the album I’m making about my dad’s life. Sorting through the box of papers I found quite a bit about his mother’s side of the family, so I have decided to extend the “Ancestors” page to cover my Scottish ancestry as well. Being primarily about my grandmother, this page has a slightly more feminine appearance than the rest of the album, with a distinctly Scottish flavour.

I have now printed out the scans of the various artefacts from the other day, ready to be cut out and used on the project.

12 Tartan and Scanned Objects

I also printed out a couple of sheets of tartan. I chose the ancient hunting tartan of Clan Fraser rather than the dress tartan, as it is much softer and more subtle in colouring – the hunting tartans, to my mind, are more attractive. My grandmother was from this clan, whose area covered the north eastern Highlands, including the Aberdeen area. She had a very distinctive accent found nowhere else but her own small area on the River Spey.

13 Tartan Images

This is the underside of the large envelope flap, now painted black. If you look carefully you can see the small circle of card which I glued over the brad back.

14 Inside of Flap Painted

The brad and thread fastening on the front. For the envelope flap I have chosen a Tim Holtz sheet from his paper stack “Lost and Found,” showing vintage medicine labels.

15 Envelope Brad and Thread Closure

I used the orange ultra-sticky double-sided tape to stick the envelope front down.

16 Inside of Envelope with DS Tape

I  bought several rolls of this from a craft show, and discovered that left stacked up, they all stuck together, and I had an awful job separating them, but managed eventually by inserting the blade of a knife between the rolls and gently levering them apart. This stuff is seriously sticky! I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this problem, but I decided that to prevent it happening again, I needed to keep the rolls separate, and I did this with pieces of waxed paper – I save this whenever I can as it has loads of uses, from postage stamp sheets, the backing of self-adhesive labels, etc. etc.

Orange DS Tape with Waxed Paper

Before sticking the envelope front down, I took two more sheets from Tim Holtz’s “Lost and Found” to create a couple of fold-out sheets for photos, journaling and embellishing. I cut them the exact size of the page minus the binding, adding half an inch for the hinge. I scored along this line and stuck the two pages together with my ATG, and then inserted them underneath the envelope front, sticking them down onto the envelope back, also using the ultra-sticky double-sided tape.

Once this was done, I was able to stick down the envelope front, trapping the half-inch hinge of the pages between the envelope front and back.

17 Secondary Pages in Place

Here are the pages opened, revealing the plain backs of the Lost and Found sheets, both of which have sewing themes on them. My grandmother was a keen needlewoman, and when we cleared her house after her death, I inherited a huge quantity of sewing threads and equipment, and even after many years, I am still using much of it.

18 Secondary Pages Open

This is what the pages look like closed. You can see the black binding piece on the right. On the back of this whole piece is the first “Ancestors” page which concentrates on my grandfather’s side of the family.

19 Secondary Pages Closed

I trimmed the tartan pieces to the sizes I wanted, and pleated one by scoring alternately at 1 inch and 1/2 inch, using my Scor-Pal score board.

20 Pleating the Tartan

I made a series of parallel cuts from the edge of the other piece to a distance of half an inch, each 1/16 inch apart, and then ruffled these with my finger to separate them, and create the illusion of the fringe on the apron of a kilt.

Laid over the pleated piece, here is a mock-up of the kilt, with the template I drew of a sporran.

22 Kilt Mock-Up with Sporran Template

I took a small piece of scrap card and embossed it, using the Tim Holtz Texture Fade embossing folder “Cracked.” I cut the shape of the top of the sporran from this, so that the lines radiated outwards. I painted the card with black acrylic paint, and when dry, I dry-brushed it with silver acrylic paint, as per Lindsay the Frugal Crafter’s recent tutorial on faux metal – a brilliant tutorial – so simple yet so effective, with a hundred uses.

23 Sporran Top

I then took a piece of heavy scrap cardstock and created a piece of faux leather from it, from the instructions which were part of Andy Skinner’s online course “Timeworn Techniques,” which I downloaded before we moved house. The results are quite astonishing – not only does it look like real old leather, but it feels like it too! I used the same Tim Holtz embossing folder for this as I used for the sporran top, to give a nice crumpled distressed look.

24 Faux Leather for Sporran

Here is a mock-up of the wee sporran. I created three tassels from silver thread that I wrapped around a narrow piece of scrap card to get the length. The tops of the tassels were made from triangles of craft metal rolled around a cocktail stick, and the thread on the top of each tassel was threaded through the top of this and passed through a hole in the faux leather, secured with a knot on the back, and secured by glueing another piece of cardstock on the back of the sporran piece and trimming it close to the edge. The undersides of the metal tubes were stuck down onto the surface of the faux leather with Scotch quick-dry adhesive to keep the tassels in place on the surface.

25 Sporran

I pierced a line of holes around the edge of the sporran using my Tim Holtz ruler which has holes at 1/16 in intervals along its length, with the aid of a piercing tool, and then ran a line of backstitch through these holes with waxed carpet thread, securing the ends on the back as I did for the tassels.

The “metal” top of the sporran is just laid in place on the above photo. I have glued it onto several thicknesses of cardstock to make it nice and thick, and it will be attached to a tag which will go inside the sporran, and be removed with the “clasp” that I shall form on top of the faux metal piece. The tag will have a photo and/or journaling on it. The sporran will be glued to the kilt apron and chains will pass from the top on each side, to the edges of the kilt pieces.

Watch this space for the continuation of this Scottish themed page and the completion of the kilt and wee sporran.


  1. Hi Shoshi, love what you've done here. I popped by a week or so ago, and read some of your posts. So sorry to read about your Dad,I think this album is a wonderful way to record his story. Glad the house, and your health, are gradually getting sorted.
    I was pleased to read of your problem with the tape- I thought it was me getting a bad bunch, or the central heating melting the glue. I had exactly the same with mine, and used the same solution as you.I'm running so late this week, sorry. Have a great week, Hugs, Shaz # 33 xx

  2. Now all you have to do is visit these places in Scotland!

  3. this is a really lovely idea, and the effort you have gone to is evident. love it Lx


Thank you for your comments! They are much appreciated. Spammers, please be aware that I read and moderate ALL comments, and yours will be deleted before publication, so please don't bother!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...