May – One year on…

I got my notification that I’d been doing this for a year. It definitely feels like a part of my life now. I just looked back at my very first list post and only one thing is still on it is the blanket and even that has grown significantly since then.

As for how I’ve changed over the year, that’s a little harder to quantify. I’m not so much struggling with the chemistry of the PhD (which is good seeing as I am nearly done) but I’m still struggling with other aspects. I’m more confident at telling people about the things I’ve made but I still use making as an avoidance tool and sometimes catch myself holding it up to unachievable standards. As for finding myself – everytime I think I’m there, I discover something else I lost on the way down. I guess time fixes.

April went really fast for me, I spent half back at my parents and half at home and I think the change of scenery makes it go faster. I also managed to start a few things this month so feeling a little overwhelmed here.

  1. The blanket
  2. A knitted dishcloth
  3. A bead embroidery purse panel
  4. The bead fringed handbag
  5. 2 bezeled seaglass necklaces – I have all the elements just need to find away to join them up
  6. Oven gloves – I spent some serious time practising free motion quilting last weekend  so I have any idea what I can do for this
  7. Sampler quilt – I didn’t make any new blocks but I did buy new fabric, does that count?
  8. English paper piecing – I worked out and cut out the right number of hexagons I need for a cushion cover
  9. The intarsia knitted purse – I knitted the panels but I haven’t sewn them up
  10. A Hawaiian quilted panel – I got taught this by a lovely lady at the craft meetup I go to. It basically is a sort of method of cutting a pattern out of folded fabric – like paper snowflakes, and then appliqueing it down. I’ve never done any hand applique before – and its tricky

I finished a few things as well

  1. A storage box for my earrings
  2. A tiny ring storage case – this one went straight into my gift box

Ok, not so much, but I have a crafting weekend with some friends, next weekend, so hopefully I’ll get a few different things ticked off the list next month.



Making useful things

I spent quite a bit of time while visiting my parents planning what things I wanted to make in the near future. I came up with plenty of exciting and potentially over ambitious plans. I also had a very expensive trip to hobby craft for all sorts of bits and pieces I’ve had my eye on for a while. But actually as I thought more, I realised that actually I will probably more fulfilled if I spend my time making things I can a) achieve and b) will use.

One of the things I saw online was an earring storage box. I’m a self professed slob, so an earring storage device that only requires me to drop them in, seems like just the thing. I followed a mix of the youtube tutorial from Anneorshine and the write up from Tina Phan.

Just finished


I made my box from a cereal box and covered it with some tissue paper (from some gift wrapped lingerie). I also didn’t have any fleece so used some t-shirts I’d been saving. Because the t-shirt jersey is so thin, I then used more cardboard to stiffen it. I think if I did this again I’d look at using a thicker fabric – maybe like sweatshirt fabric, still soft but thicker. That would help with my other problem which is that when I folded over the covering fabric, I ended up with lots of bulk at the sides as I had so many rolls.

Fully Loaded

At the end, I really like what I’ve made, its pretty useful, and made from entirely recycled things – which is definitely a good thing.

In use


Yet another craft – bead embroidery

One of things I set out to teach my self this year was bead embroidery. I actually started last year but it still counts. Last december I made my self a quick fabric cover for my diary and the sat down to make a bead soup.

Undoing my bead soup and making decisions 

This was a mistake, apart from one tiny area, which I forced myself to do, I stuck to one colour of bead per motif I stitched. This obviously meant I ended up sorting m bead soup as I went along. My colour choices came from the larger beads and the silver roses that I found in my stash. It’s hard to descibe my process, I knew i didn’t want it to be too bright but also that just using pale greys and blues wouldn’t work. In the end there ended up with a mix of grey, pale blue, deep blue and silver. I tried also to get a good mix of different coatings, matt, shiny metallic ect. to keep it interesting.

In terms of teaching myself I had a quick google for tips and techniques, but mostly I found people telling me that I needed specific backing, and needles and thread. But that’s not really how I work – maybe my work won’t last quite as long, but that’s ok I can make more. While I’m sure these things help, I’m pretty sure they aren’t necessary. Pretty much the only useful tip I found was to keep things a little looser than you think, especially when doing curves – so I kept that in mind.

In all it’s Glory

And then I jumped in and got going. I started with the placement of the roses, and then the strip of flowers at the edge. Then I just went from there. I really enjoyed doing the concentric circles but tried my hardest not to just do those.

Because I had no plan, I made sure that I jumped around, rather than beading from one particular point outwards, in order to make it look reasonably coherent at the end. I also tried to repeat techniques, with different colour beads for the same reason.

I was concious that I was going to be using this as a diary, so it would be living in my handbag, and therefore the beading needed to be reasonable flat and well secure. About half way through, I had added most of the accent beads but pretty much all I had done with the seed beads was flat circles or lines. So I started trying to come up with ideas that wouldn’t be too ‘flappy’ but would still add texture. Instagram was a great inspirition, and I had fun just trying things.

Different bits of texture

I was expecting this project to take all year but actually I’ve enjoyed it so much. I think this one of my favourite new techniques, and yes I’ve already started my next project. In general I think in the future, sturdier fabrics will be a good bet. For the diary I used a very thin cotton because it was what I had, in this case it was okay because it was already on the diary, but it wouldn’t have coped if it had been free.  I also made good use of my frixion pen to act as a guideline – I figured it it would all be covered up so it didn’t matter.

My next piece is a purse and I’m looking forward to be able to add even more texture. I also went shopping so have some new shapes to play with – Lets see what happens.


This month I’ll have been doing this a year. And unlike the cliche, time hasn’t flown. Last year feels like a long time ago, but I’ll try and write a post on that when the time’s right.

I’m spending half of April back up north at my parents home. I’m resting and healing and I’ve started on my thesis writing. I bought a few small projects with me, but i’m trying not to be too ambitious at them moment, just do the small ideas that come to me.

As always there’s still plenty of things on my list:

  1. The blanket – before I went away I tidied up a bit and I’ve actually got 8 balls of wool, so I really need to knuckle down and add those on and then measure up and see what I can do
  2. English paper piecing, a few more diamonds have been made and it is one of the projects I have with me
  3. The fringed bag
  4. The seaglass necklace – I found more seaglass while tidying my childhood room, and have new plans for it
  5. The four point star – pretty much on hold
  6. Oven gloves – still too chicken to start
  7. My quilt – I made 2 new blocks this month so happy with the progress. It was also my first time chain piecing which was fun and working with HST – not so fun. Cutting is my least favourite part
  8. An knitted purse with an intarsia design – this was from my knitting day at liberty’s. It was such a good day and
  9. A bead embroidery purse – I spent some pennies on some fun shaped beads and have started a new embroidery piece.

And I finished a few things too:

  1. My diary – And its glorious. (I’d forgotten about writing about it, so I shall take pictures at the weekend
  2. Two drawstring bags – I had a sewing day, and after the preciseness of the quilt blocks I wanted something easy. These were whipped up with no rulers, and are being used to store and ferry craft projects
  3. a knitted bunny from a square – this was a fun quick project and I practiced knitting without looking
  4. A bezelled piece of seaglass- Yeah so for my first bezel I thought I’d try something irregularly shaped – well at least I know I can now. I just tried this for fun and now have lots of ideas

It’s been a fairly productive month all in all, lets see what happens in april