For Estella

I am thankful for many things and one of those is my two healthy children. Whilst browsing Twitter, I came across the story of Estella. Estella died at the age of only eight months of a genetic condition, SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I hope this blog can help raise awareness of the condition and at the same time, I would like to call for submissions of handmade stars to create a wall for Estella and all the children who use Bluebell Wood Hospice where Estella stayed.

Stars should be between 5cm and 15cm across and suitable to be displayed on a wall. Obviously stars will need to be child friendly, both visually and as I am hoping to create a piece than can act as sensory stimulation for the children at the hospice, the pieces will also need to be safe for small fingers...non toxic, no sharp edges, beads and buttons securely sewn or glued.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

My apologies

My apologies....I was hoping to have finished backing the stars and have them all sent off by now, but the school holidays and craft fairs are getting the better of me. I am still on the case, and getting things sorted slowly...and I *will* get them in the post soon!

This isn't the best photo of all the stars together, but it gives you a good idea of what they'll look like altogether. (Excuse the desk!)

Of course, if anyone has any more stars they'd like to send me in the meantime, you're more than welcome!

Linda Kirkbride is also making a collaborative project for Estella and is collecting small handmade stars for an art contact her if you would like to join in :) She is also selling handmade brooches to raise money for SMA research....take a look here!

Monday, 6 August 2012

A bit behind

Firstly, some wonderful news! Estella's Mummy and Daddy are expecting a little girl :) She does not have SMA and I'm sure that she'll bring much joy to all that meet her and she will grow up being incredably proud of all that her big sister Estella, and her parents, have done to raise awareness of SMA.

As with last week, I'm a bit behind at the moment. I need to back some of the stars I've received and add the fixings so they can be easily attached to the wall in Bluebell Wood Hospice but I haven't done that yet...of course it does mean that if you have a star, there's still plenty of time to get it in the post! And talking of post, these beautiful patchwork stars arrived from Laura who sells her gorgeous floral jewellery here.

And of course, I can't make something without making a star at the same time, so here's a mono-print starfish :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Nearing the end?

Sorry it has taken so long to write this post...can I blame it on the Summer Holidays? :)

Well, it is nearly at the deadline of 31st July. I need to back some of the stars to make them stronger and of course they need sticky pads on the back, but otherwise I'm nearly ready to send them up to Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice I would have like to have been able to travel to Sheffield myself, but unfortunately I won't be able to....this time. I have been talking to Sarah from the hospice, whom is very impressed with your stars by the way, and it is possible that I may do another project in the future.

So....if you have any more stars to send, now's the time to let me know and I can send them all up together. I can send others on after the main parcel if necessary.

I was hoping to reach out to people and spread the story of Estella. I think I have acheived this, and Linda, whom has connected to Estella's story through me has started her own collaberative project to raise awareness of SMA. So if you fancy making a tiny star, do contact Linda! are the stars I have received this week. I have these beautiful sepia photographs from Mark who has the whole alphabet at Alphabet Art. Before I saw them, I had the idea (with Mark's permission) that I would cut them into star shapes, but I feel this would make them difficult to read, and take away some of their beauty. So I will back these with board and send them as a separate piece to be displayed aside from the main star wall.

 Also I have these fabulously fun woven paper stars from Jo who has a blog here and has been blogging ablout Estella and this project :)

And these are the pieces I have been working on....I have finished the sticker pattern on the box lid. I still need to paint the box, add some rice for a rattle before gluing the lid on.

I also have some smaller porcelain stars with the impression of dasies and daisy centres.

This piece will be left unglazed to show the delicate texture.

Check back soon...I may even manage a picture of all the stars together!

Saturday, 21 July 2012


When writing an article for Popular Crafts Magazine I had to choose a deadline to finish this project, so I chose 31st July....although this deadline may stretch a little, it is useful for me to aim for around this time to deliver the stars to Bluebell Wood Hospice. So...if you've been making a star, now's the time to send it to me :) You can leave your email in the comments, or email me at lisa at and I'll send you my address. Of course there is no reason why stars cannot be sent individually after the majority are sent, but the more the merrier....and personally I always work better with a short deadline ;)

And, very nicely connected....these stars arrived in the post from Katharine, the editor of Popular Crafts who has been so helpful with not only the article, but also promoting the project on twitter. Katharine also sells patchwork supplies through MyHobbycraft.

And of course I've been working on some more stars....there are a couple that have nearly finished firing, I'll be able to unload the kiln tomorrow morning. Also I found some fun glittery stickers, so I've been making a patchwork on the box I bought previously.

Originally I was going to use the box in two halves, but I have decided to fill the box with rice and glue it together instead to make a noisy star. I've done the easy to finish down the sides! ;)

Do get in contact if you're thinking of making a star, but need some advice....I'm full of ideas! :)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lots of Stars!

The post has been busy lately! :) The first star is from June, the photo doesn't show how glittery and shiny the star is....bound to be a hit with small children :) June has a blog here.
 Also in the post were three more stars from Nicola. These pieces are really a labour of love as Nicola finds it difficult to grip a needle, although you can't tell from these stars!
 And last but not least, these cheerful stars arrived from Jodie today :) Jodie has a SMA Awareness blog here.

And as always, I'm working on some more stars :) These ones are a little smaller with the impressions of daisy centres....

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Things are starting to get busy!

Lots of people showing me stars they've made on twitter at the moment! Really looking forward to showing them to you. I need to take a photo of all the stars I already have, so you can see how the wall is shaping up. Will see if I can manage that in daylight!

In the post this week form Nicola a really beautifully cross-stitched star....and she's made another two!

And out of the kiln this week...the three stars you've seen in progress.

I went for a simple transparent green glaze for the leaves, and I'm very pleased with the results.

I'll hopefully have some more stars to show you soon. I'm still thinking of more to put in the kiln, I think I might do some smaller ones and glaze them different colours.

Let me know if you're working on any stars, and feel free to blog about the project. The more the merrier!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

More in the post :)

Another cute, soft star arrived in the post from iheartrosie This will be another great star that can be attatched with velcro :) Rosie also has an Etsy shop here Thank you Rosie!

I have been working on some new stars too, on the same principal as the leaves...this one with shells, a bit like limestone....

And this one with toy dinosaurs pressed into it :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

In print :)

The project is now in print in Popular Crafts magazine. I don't yet have a copy, but here is a link to the article on their website. Thanks Katharine!

Delia Stevens found a lovely handmade star in a in true Etsy style, I'm going to add some little bells for another sensory aspect.

 It's a little hard to see, but Delia also made this delicate wire star which I'll back with card :)

 Whilst at a craft shop today I bought this little paper mache star box....not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I have plenty of craft materials lying around to make two different wall stars.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Bright Star

A beautiful bright yellow crochet star arrived in the post from Ana. I'm hoping that this one, and other's like it can be attatched to the wall with velcro, so they can be taken to less mobile children in the hospice,so thanks's perfect! See Ana's Etsy shop here.

I also have some more stars from my Mother-in-law, Delia, I'll try to get some photos tomorrow :)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

In the post :)

The lovely Ruthie sent her stars from the USA :) A couple of the paper circles have broken off, but nothing a dab of glue won't sort! So thank you! :D

And here are some of the star pendants and brooches that have come out of the kiln... I'll send one to Ruthie as a thank you, and the next nine people to send in stars will also receive one. I would also like to sell these to raise money for the smashsma campaign. I'm going to make some thicker ones with smashsma round the edge, like the writing on the edge of a coin. Then hopefully they can be sold to raise money like the smashsma bracelets.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Simple Ideas

Nothing new about this method, but I thought I'd share it anyway, maybe it will inspire you to make your own star, maybe in clay or polymer clay?

I picked some leaves on my way back from dropping my son off at school. My daughter picked some too....but she didn't get many whole ones :) I had a juicy new bag of porcelain I bought the day before, so I rolled a small slab and laid on the leaves. You get the best impressions from the back of the leaves. I found the best impressions were from brambles, cotoneaster and hazel. I then pressed the leaves in by going over lightly with the rolling pin. You can press them in with your fingers for a more undulating look. I picked out the leaves and cut the star with a cookie cutter.

I'm not sure if I will glaze the piece or maybe I will paint on underglaze and then wipe away the excess to accentuate the texture. This method works well with polymer clay and acrylic paint. Choose contrasting colours for the most striking effect.

Let me know if you're making one for Estella's will be lovely to see your results!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


I have some new star cutters :) I love that when I buy a new tool, it fires off a load of new ideas in my head! So.....definitely some new stars on the way from this's everyone else going? I've had some more interest and promises via twitter, but I still don't have any stars....if anyone had any photos of pieces they are working on, I'd love to see them and post them on the blog :)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Let's get this going!

I hadn't realised I was quite this bad at updating my blog....I thought I had told you about my finished stars, but it appears not! I am a bad blogger *hangs head in shame*

Apologies what's going on from my end?

I have two completed ceramic stars:



I am still working on more pieces.

In other news, a small article about the project will be coming out in Popular Crafts magazine in May! Here is my article, of course it is possible it may have been edited by the time it is printed.

Whilst browsing twitter, I became aware of @EstellaStar1 The story of two parents who lost their baby aged only 8months old from a genetic condition, SMA or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. SMA takes away the baby’s movement, and eventually their ability to breathe on their own and Estella spent the last few months of her life in Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. I don’t know why this particular story touched me so much, maybe because the her parents were trying so hard to raise the public awareness of the disease, but I thought maybe I could help. Not only would I like to help raise the awareness of the condition, but also it would be lovely to give something to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in memory of Estella and also as a sensory wall for all the other children who spend their time there.

I would love you to join me in making stars for the reception area of Bluebell Wood in whatever media you choose. Variety is the spice of life so they say and a riot of texture and colour in many different media would certainly enhance the lives of the children, parents and staff at the hospice.

Stars should be between 5cm and 15cm across and suitable to be displayed on a wall. Obviously stars will need to be child friendly, both visually and safe for small fingers...non toxic, no sharp edges, beads and buttons securely sewn or glued. As some children are not mobile, some of the stars will be attached to the wall with Velcro. Embroidery, ceramic, crochet, printing, painting, collage, knitting, weaving, woodwork, stained glass, polymer clay....anything you do, we would love to see on Estella’s Wall. Any stars I receive will be shown on my blog with links to your blog/shop/etc.

The deadline for the project is July 31st. Please take a look at my blog to see what others have created and for more information. You can contact me for an address via my blog or @lisaseaurchin on Twitter

Further online reading:

Search #smashsma on twitter

Sign the petition for free SMA screening here:

I hope we'll have some more stars to show them then. Although the deadline is still a way off, it would be great to have some stars to show people. That will encourage others to join the project.

I do have a small insentive....the first ten people to send me their finished stars will recieve a porcelain star brooch or pendant. I'm making these (they will be coloured when they are finished) and hope to find somewhere where I can sell them to raise money for SMA research.

So...I promise to be a bit more pro-active, and get this project on the right track....who's with me?!

Monday, 20 February 2012

work in progress

Just thought I'd show you what I'm working on....

 I'm going to re-do this one as I'm not happy about the letter spacing
 And this is the first star I actually have in my hand.... from Delia Stevens, you can see her watercolour work here
Of course I would love to see any stars that you've been working on. I am anticipating that more people will make stars and promote the project when they see others that have been made previously, so although there is a long deadline, I'd love to see your stars, even if they're not finished :)

One other bit of news....the project will be promoted in a national craft magazine in May/June, so it will be just in time for a big push at the end of the project.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

First stars

It's official, we have some stars :) The lovely Ruthie_HB is the first person to ask for my address to send her finished stars, and also add to the Flickr Group :)

I have started too...I have a lot of ideas, and I may donate more than one star. This is my first, inspired by my two-year-old daughter's current love of moss. I will glaze it bright green with emerald green glass melted into the craters and little beads of glass fused to the centre of each one. Any stars I don't end up donating, I will sell in my shop and donate 20% to the hospice.

The project has been mentioned on a couple of blogs, Ruthie has blogged here and Nicola from Pouch Bags kindly mentioned the project in her interview for BlueVelvetChair blog.

Do let me know if you've mentioned the project in your blog, and I'll add a link :)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Working things out

I'm not much of a planner, I prefer the take a run at it and see what happens approach, but things seem to be falling into place quite quickly I think :) I have had a word with Sarah from Bluebell Wood Hospice and they would prefer the stars stuck directly to the wall, which is means I don't need to worry about transporting boards or a large canvas to Sheffield. Also I think it will look better :) Most of the stars will be secured with strong sticky pads....strong enough to hold most pieces I would think. I'll sort that out, no need to worry about fixing on the back of your star. Also, after pixie's comment on my last post about placing different textures on Estella's hand, it gave me the idea to fix some of the stars with velcro pads so the stars can be taken to less mobile children. Bluebell Wood like this idea.

I've had a promising amount of interest over the last couple of days, with quite a few promises of stars. Thank you! At the moment there is not a deadline, but at least a few months. It will give the project time to gather momentum and spread the smashSMA message....and also I have to work out the logistics of getting to Sheffield ;) Probably most dependant on when my parents can look after the kids! Saying that, if you can make a star within the next few weeks, it would be lovely to see them and I'll post pictures here...which I'm sure will inspire others. If you do have a blog/shop to link to, I can do that here.

As the wall is partly about sensory stimulation, it would be lovely if anyone had any ideas that involved sounds, bells, crinkly fabric maybe?

Paintings, drawings, collage, prints, etc are also welcome. If you could mount the pieces on stiff board and make sure the surface can withstand little fingers, that would be excellent :)

When you have a star, please let me know in the comments, and I'll send you my address. If you would like to join the Flickr group, you can add work in progress and finished piece photos there...again, inspiration for others. If you don't know Flickr, it is free for the first 200 images, and is a great way to share photos and connect with other people.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I have taken part in a few collaberative installations before, where artists from all over the world create small pieces which are pooled together to create one large art piece, and after reading Estella's story I felt I would like to do something similar for the hospice where she stayed. I am delighted that Estella's parents and Blubell Wood Hospice have agreed to this and I hope to have lots of support for the creative community of Britain and beyond.

I would like you to make a star each, in your own prefered media, which will be displayed as part of a group installation at Blubell Wood. Stars should be between 5cm and 15cm across and suitable to be displayed on a wall. Obviously stars will need to be child friendly, both visually and as I am hoping to create a piece than can act as sensory stimulation for the children at the hospice, the pieces will also need to be safe for small fingers...non toxic, no sharp edges, beads and buttons securely sewn or glued. Please, no advertising on the star itself, I will upload photos of any stars I recieve on this blog with a link to your shop/blog/etc. No images or text that may be subject to copywrite. And lastly, this is to be a celabration of Estella and all the children that use the hospice, so Bluebell Wood have requested that the wall should be positive and cheerful, only one star will have Estella's name as they can't do the same for every child, but there will also be an artist's statement explaining our inspiration.

I would love to hear from anyone interested in joining me in this project. Let's make a lasting memorial for Estella, a great art piece for the hospice, and while we're at it, let's bring people's attention to the smash SMA campain! If you can, and you haven't already done so, please sign this e-petition calling for free SMA screening tests.

If you are a member of Flickr, please join my group and add any work in progress photos of any stars you make