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Sunday, 27 November 2016


A little Christmas gift sewing this week. I found this nice little tutorial by Two Brown Birds for making tissue holders and wanted to give it a try. My first one (made in yellow and green and decorated with a hand made button and seed beads) came out rather nicely. So now my family will be getting tissue holders as part of their gifts this Christmas - and considering how often I make my sister cry with my choice of gift (in a good way, I promise) I think she might find this gift quite useful. I have been making more gifts for this year's festivities but I will put up photos of them later - I don't want to give too much away to those relatives who might be reading this.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

New beads for the winter season

I finally got around to creating a few new beads this week. A touch more Oriental, a little abstract, some traditional, Scandi-inspired and colourful. Some are already available in my Etsy store but the rest will be added over the next few days. There are also more in the pipework that I have not finished yet. One thing is for sure, with all those bright colours they certainly cheer up those cold, wintery days.

Monday, 7 November 2016

A finished quilted project!

At last! I managed to finish a quilted project that was not made from a kit. There are so many pieces of unfinished patchwork around my work room that I really need to do something about it. I made a meditation mat for myself using a pack of Moda's 'Welcome Fall' charm squares. It is made up of disappearing nine patch squares and has made me very happy. The disappearing nine patch is so lovely. Really simple to make but looks so complex. The mat is 25 inches square. I quilted the top with a cotton wadding behind the patchwork then stitched on a back and put a square of leftover duvet (from when I was making dog beds for my sister's dogs) inside. My patch placement needs a bit of work (my obsessive compulsive side is annoyed that the bright yellow patches are all on the one side) but it is just what I needed for those rare moments of calm.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Autumn in Scotland

I love autumn. I was up early the other morning and tried to catch some lovely images. These photos don't do the scenery justice but the colours are magnificent.

Lots of patches of mist and flog came and went - which is why this marvellous gold tree looks a bit misty.

Monday, 24 October 2016

New tutorials

I have finally got two more tutorials written. It's only taken two years, what with family life, the insane VAT changes from the EU government and a general lack of motivation to write any more tutorials because of it. But they are finally done and I have a few ideas for more.

The first tutorial is ideal for this season - how to make Dia de los Muertos brooches from paper. It covers making the base and how to decorate. I even included a few tips and hints on decorating them.

The second is how to make bejewelled Christmas tree bauble hooks. Made using copper wire and beads, they are quick to make and add that little bit of festive sparkle to what would otherwise be a boring hook.

As always, they can be found in my Etsy store.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

We can rebuild him - we have the technology

Indy has a favourite toy when she comes to visit me - the noodle donkey. She runs through the house and garden throwing noodle donkey in the air and catching him. Unfortunately he's been through the wars as Indy decided he should be bald, have two legs removed and have no innards. So he underwent major surgery this week - as you can see from the photos below. I couldn't fix his baldness but I could re-stitch and re-stuff him. Looks almost as good as new now and is back to being thrown in the air, carried round the garden and swung in the air by his legs.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Quiliting dies

There has been a lot of talk on the craft channels about quilting dies. I know! Seasoned quilters will be having a fit at the mention of them but my cutting sucks. No matter how careful I am I still have problems. I signed up to take part in the Splendid Sampler quilt project but found it a bit more challenging than I have time for right now. I will go back to it but, right now, other things must take precedence.

Anyway, quilting dies - I bought the Sizzix half square triangle die and it is amazing. I had been watching the Accuquilt Go shows on TV and the system looks great. But for someone who is a very, very amateur quilter I can't justify the cost of it - even if I do really, REALLY love their Gingham Dog appliqué die. However I already have a Sizzix Big Shot so I tried their dies.

I am now producing patchwork that does not look like the cat regurgitated it. My points are much better and my seams are straight. Although you have to stick to the size of the cut piece it has given me confidence. I am hoping to finally make my first full size quilt now. Thank you Sizzix! I may have to order another die or two.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


There seems to be a Japanese theme to my crafting these days - kanzashi, shashiko and now yubinuki. The beauty of the internet for us creative types is that it lets us see traditional crafts from all over the world so easily. It's amazing to think that 30 years ago we may not have seem some of these marvels. These two yubinuki are my early attempts. Don't look too closely at the stitching though. It needs a little work. The blue and cream one was rather big so it has become a pin cushion.

The next three were smaller in size but by the time I got to the purple and cream yubinuki I could see a difference in the stitching. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

Yubinuki are decorative thimbles that evolved from practical tools used by Japanese craftsmen and they are spectacular. I suppose you would call them a form of embroidery. They are also surprisingly easy once you get used to making your own thimble bases. The tutorials I used to get started come from a variety of places but I have included a list here:
  •  Shishi Girl's blog post gives a nice introduction to yubinuki with some diagrams for a straight forward design.
  • The best tutorial I found for making a thimble base comes from Ma Mercerie but she also has lots of other tutorials under the search terms 'thimbles' and also 'How I make my thimbles'. There is also an index of her tutorial posts here.
  • And, of course, there is Pinterest where there is lots of eye candy and links to other yubinuki tutorial - most of which are in Japanese but you might be able to follow the diagrams. I have a dedicated Pinterest board for yubinuki now if you want to see some beautiful inspiration and ideas for using them. This image is one of my favourite picture tutorials from Pinterest (although I think the text is in Spanish) but I can't find the original link to it.
However, Gina-B Silkworks now has yubinuki kits available if you want to try and make your own. Full instructions are given along with the materials you will need. The maroon/pink and purple/cream yubinuki above came from her kits and are definitely the easiest way to get some basic materials to make your own.

Thursday, 22 September 2016


Over the last few weeks I have been playing with some sashiko embroidery. One of my favourite embroidery thread suppliers, Sew and So, has started to stock sashiko products, including pre-printed sashiko fabric. It is great for getting a taste for the craft  - and for getting your stitches spaced correctly. Very pleasant and relaxing.

I am not sure what I will be doing with my little panels yet but they would look great framed up, made into greetings cards, coasters or even as panels for the front of a new book. Watch this space.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

New beads

Another quick update (this is becoming a habit). Two new sets of beads are now in my Etsy shop - Stargazing Angels and Festive Angels. It has been a while since I released some new bead designs but I am working on a few more. Hopefully it won't take too long to get them out there.