Archive for August 2012

How I did something funny

There was a day when my dear husband was not himself, a day of such frustrations that he was really sad. I’d tried tea, wine and chocolate, so there was nothing left for it, I drew him a cartoon. Of him grinning. And when it came to what cartoon-hubby wore, I wasn’t sure which of his t-shirts to use so I wrote “[something funny]”, sort of a meta funny t-shirt symbol. It worked to cheer him up anyway, and when Christmas came round I made him a real version.

I learned a thing or two that day. I used a thick paper for the template, which may have gone a bit soggy as my sister and I valiantly stippled away. Also, a blunt Stanley knife from Dad’s tool box is no craft knife… but a t-shirt was made and loved. Here it is, it’s been worn for a couple of years now and occasionally left on the floor, so you can see the fabric paint works!

Hubby's t-shirt

I can’t claim that [something funny] t-shirts are a proven method for cheering up husbands, but I’ll leave you with my story and let you draw your own conclusions.

Welcome to Use or Ornament

I’ve always enjoyed making beautiful things and have made Christmas and birthday presents for family members for many years. That they are all still talking to me gave me confidence that I may have what it takes to design and make things for you too.

It was only getting redundancy money that gave me enough time to experiment, making and refining ideas into good designs. Design only works when you get the look right and the functionality right. I’ve set up Use or Ornament to show what can be achieved with innovative and sustainable design by an independent business.

The name was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement because it was our last great crafting movement. It was bold enough to think that hand-making and sharing good design can change the world in small ways.

One ‘small way’ is that I’ve designed my baby and toddler range to suit both boys and girls, for parents who’ve had enough of strict boy or girl only ranges.

My designs often make use of recycled elements such as fabrics and also recycled silver and aluminium. I want to share how amazing recycled elements can look; it’s up to my customers how often they share the story of their new things!

I’m just starting out but I’ll keep looking for ways to improve my sustainability. I will always refine my designs until I’d be happy owning them, before I share them with you.

Our website is now fully operational at

You can find out a bit more about what inspires me at the about page. You can also view what we have for sale either divided into ranges on the products page or divided into when and who they would make great gifts for.

All the products are available now from Etsy.

I’ll use this blog to keep you up to date with what’s happening with the business, what is inspiring me at the moment and the craft shows I’m attending (the first one will be Heart and Craft in Headingley, Leeds on the 8th September).

In the near future, you can expect to see more products; I have so many ideas that just aren’t quite ready yet! To whet your appetite, there are designs inspired by the shapes in local hedgerows and kits to cheer up sad clothing. I’m also hoping to get some better product photographs, thanks to a generous offer from a local photographer.

So there will be lots to see. Please check back again soon to see what I have. If you’ve got any questions or would like to arrange a one-off private commission, drop me an e-mail at

Lucy Sangster