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.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Playing with shadows

Just a quick update today. A few weeks back Gina-B Silkworks sent me some new products to play with - including these Shadow Plaques. Needless to say, I love them! There are so many things you can do with these. They are meant for displaying passementerie buttons but you could use them for displaying  art, embroidery, little pieces that show new art or craft techniques. They can be made up into gifts or kept as a record of some creative endeavour.

Sadly my photographic skills here are awful. I was having problems with my camera at the time so I could only take a quick snapshot. But if you go to Gina-B Silkwork's page for the mini shadow plaques she has better photos of my samples under the main photo along with other samples by Gina and Chris.

Monday, 5 September 2016

A birthday surprise

It was my sister's birthday in July and my present to her was a creative piece inspired by something she saw on Pinterest. However this one has silhouettes of her late dog, Stanley, and her old guy, Oz. It made her cry. But then I have a habit of giving my sister gifts that make her cry. It has become a bit of a challenge now - find the perfect gift that will create tears. Tears of joy, I hasten to add. I did give her a box of tissues before she opened it though.

It is made from a bamboo chopping board with acrylic paints, hand cut stencils and finished with polyurethane varnish.