Category Archives: Beading

Button club

Button club

If you read my previous post, Buttoned Up, you’ll know that everything’s gone ‘buttons’ recently. So on Tuesday this week (17th June 2014), me and some crafty friends at work held the first meeting of ‘button club’!

(Btw it also happened to be the same day that my cousin gave birth to a gorgeous son, Mitch Mcmillan, who I made this blanket for recently.)

Anyway, so, we all brought some buttons along and enjoyed looking at each other’s stashes. Here are Becca and Lizzie, who were so busy looking at buttons, they didn’t notice me get my camera out!

Becca & Lizzie looking at buttons

Becca & Lizzie looking at buttons

Not only were there some fab buttons to look at, but also some interesting ways of storing buttons. Becca had an old tin (once used for tobacco), I’ve got a really little drawer unit, and Lizzie had this nifty tin in the shape of a book (by Cath Kidston):

Button tin in the shape of a book!

Button tin in the shape of a book!

There were plenty of interesting buttons in our stashes – different materials, colours, shapes and engraved patterns. But we were all in agreement by the end that there was just one button that was the most impressive – it came from Lizzie’s stash and here she is looking proud of it:

Lizzie's amazing button

Lizzie’s beautiful button

We’ve nicknamed this the ‘naked lady’ button, for obvious reasons. I particularly like the stylish cape (if that is a cape?), even though she’s not bothered with any other clothes…

The intricacy of the design is what we all loved, especially considering that this button is only 1.5cm (½in) wide! We’ve no idea where this button has come from, so there’s no chance of getting any more, but that’s the beauty of unique buttons like this.

Do you have any ideas for what project this button would be good for? I’m thinking a cape or scarf, in honour of the lady on the button. Do you have any interesting buttons?


Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Beading, Crochet, Knitting, Papercrafts, Sewing


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Buttoned up

I’ve just come back from our annual week’s holiday to the beautiful seaside town of St Ives in Cornwall. If you’ve never been, you really are missing out. Here’s just one of the many lovely photos we took of the town, on one of our many walks:

St Ives © Becky Skuse

St Ives © Becky Skuse

As well as beautiful views, friendly people, delicious food and great galleries, there are also some lovely crafty shops and other tempting goodies, which I spent far too much money on!

Unfortunately, my two favourite shops have closed down or moved out of the town: the bead shop (G J Beads) and vintage store Beaten Green.

However, there’s still a knitting shop (House of Bartlett), two stained glass galleries (including Jo Downs and Desiree Hope), a vintage tea room, and Poppy Treffry now has her own shop.

One of my best buys was not in any of these places though, it was in one of the gift shops…

Button earrings

Button earrings

Yes, it’s a pair of button earrings! I grinned from ear to ear when I saw them, and happily handed over a mere £2 to have them. I’ve already had several compliments on them and am now bursting with ideas for making jewellery using buttons.

I think it must be fate though, because only a few weeks ago, I joked to the gorgeous Becca (at Knit Happens) that we should start a button club and meet to compare our button stashes and undertake creative button-related challenges. We both had a good giggle, but since then, EVERYTHING has been coming up buttons!

I think it’s the universe’s way of telling me to get buttoned up… and who am I to argue?

So, button club anyone? Who’s in?


Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Beading, Crochet, Embroidery, Knitting, Sewing


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Cutting edge of history

I’ve always been fascinated by history, particularly influential people and interesting genealogical stories. I think that’s why I like TV shows like Who Do You Think You Are? and Heir Hunters.

I’ve been on my own history adventure recently, thanks to a rather plain-looking pair of scissors!

Vintage scissors

Vintage scissors

I noticed these little scissors recently at my parents’ house, next to my mum’s jewellery box. In an instant, I was totally captivated by their vintage charm – look how fine the metal is around finger holes, and how beautifully the metal curves from here to the pivot point.

I joked to my mum that they looked ancient and she said she’d had them for as long as she could remember. She knows that I have a soft spot for vintage knick-knacks, so she insisted that I have them. (I resisted a little, but gave in quickly with a possible too-loud yay!)

Anyway, when I got them home, I had a good look over them. The blades don’t feel very sharp any more, but the pivot is still very strong (unlike some of my more modern scissors). The metal has a beautiful dark, matt quality, with just a little rust under the pivot point. Then I turned them over…

Vintage scissors: other side

Vintage scissors: other side

On this side, I realised there was some writing under the pivot, so I looked a little closer…

Vintage scissors close-up

Vintage scissors close-up

In case you can’t see, it says ‘W.P All W Parkin & Sons Sheffield’. I felt a pang of excitement as a I realised this could be a craft artefact with its own history, so I set out to find out more about W Parkin & Sons. A quick internet search turned into a 2-hour investigation! I’ve not found out all that much, but here’s what I do know…

W Parkin & Sons, Sheffield, were just one of many steel companies in the area during the 19th century and right up until the 1970s. In case you’re unaware, Sheffield was a hub of steel production in the UK, from the industrial revolution until its decline in the 1970s and 1980s, due to more competitive prices abroad. Sheffield’s steelworks were huge and played a key role in producing essential items for the war effort.

I’m personally interested in the craft tools they produced, which seem to have included scissors, knives and saws. According to various sources, W Parkin & Sons occupied premises in many different parts of the city, including Sylvester Street, Granville Street, and land between Solly Street and White Croft. All of these addresses are now either office blocks, housing estates, or crumbling, boarded-up buildings with no hint of the important activity that once occurred there.

One of the internet results that came up was for the census records. There was a William Parkin in the 1911 Census, described as a ‘Steel Merchant’, aged 64. I found the same man in previous census records, described as ‘Steel Manufacturer’ in 1901, ‘Steel and File Manufacturer’ in 1891, ‘Cuttery Manufacturer Employing About 100 Hands’ in 1881, a Clerk Merchant in 1871, a Scholar in 1861, and no job in 1851 (but he was only 4 years old!). I’m not sure whether this is the founder or one of the forefathers of the company, but it’s still interesting to see one man’s career progression!

It’s sad that these once-thriving factories are now falling down, and that there doesn’t seem to be much record of a company that endured for so long, employing so many, and making charming historic items like my humble scissors. I’ll keep looking for more information…


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New Year’s resolutions

So the Christmas trimmings have been packed away for another year and as is the tradition at this time of year, I’ve been thinking about resolutions for 2013 – more specifically, crafty resolutions that I’d like to make…

1 I’d like to get my stash more organised. I always associate spring cleaning with the new year, and I dream of having a craft stash that’s perfectly tidy and ordered, so that everything is easy to find, uses space efficiently, keeps my tools well protected and my fabrics, yarns and threads safe from dirt, damage and dust. I’ve already got a few plastic boxes but I’m thinking of getting a few more – they don’t cost the earth, but aren’t very pretty. A nice workbox or workbasket would be lovely, but their shape is usually not a great use of space so it probably wouldn’t hold all that much. Perhaps an inventory would be helpful as well because I’m sure there are crafty goodies I’ve got that I’ve forgotten about.

2 I’d like to finish some of my unfinished projects. We’ve all got them – projects we’ve got planned to do or that are half-made, but we’ve never got round to finishing them. A couple of years ago, I put all mine together in one bag, in the hope that in between projects, I would delve into the bag and finish something. But it’s not happened yet…

3 I’d like to make some projects that use up all those little bits and bobs in my stash – odd balls of yarn and small amounts of fabric. So I’m thinking of making small accessories or little things for little ones, using striped or patchwork effects. Or something…

4 I’d like to try something different. The beauty of crafting is that there are always new designs, new techniques and new products to try! There are lots of things I’ve seen that I’ve thought “Oh, I’d love to try that some day”. Some of them are really basic, such as knitting or crocheting with beads and lacework – others will take more thought, such as making a quilt and using shrink-effect interfacing in a sewing project.

5 I’d like to teach someone to craft. There’s nothing more rewarding than sharing the craft you love with other people and watching their confidence, excitement and passion flourish – all because of you! So in 2013, I’d really like to spread the love of crafts a bit further by teaching other people how to knit or sew or crochet. I’ve also thought about joining a club, but struggled to find one close enough at the right time. Maybe I’ll start one at work… My nieces aren’t quite old enough to knit yet but they do like learning new things and there are plenty of other fun crafty things we could do.

6 I’d like to do some more designing. I think 2012 was a great year for my sewing designs and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done for Sewing World. It seems like there are loads of independent craft designers out there creating great designs, and they both inspire me (if they can do it, it must be possible for me to do it too) and terrify me (there are so many designs out there now, what if my stuff isn’t good or original). I recently joined Craftsy and it seems quite straightforward to list patterns for sale, so I think this will be my next move.

7 I’d like to set up a craft project for charity. Crafters are some of the most generous people I’ve met and there are always charity fund-raising projects on the go to get involved in. I regularly give money to charity and take part in other people’s charity craft projects, because it’s a great feeling to do something practical to help others. I’d like to take it one step further and set up my own craft for charity project. I like the idea of setting myself some kind of crafting challenge and getting sponsors.

Do you think seven resolutions is too many?! I think if I can achieve three or four, that will be pretty good going. Right, I better start getting on with it…


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Clear out bags

I know it’s not spring, but I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out recently.

Long story short, we need to have the house rewired so we had to clear a bit of space for the workmen to start in – it’s a bit like those puzzles where you have one square empty and have to move all the pieces around, into the right place.

Anyway, it’s been fun to revisit some of the forgotten items at the back of cupboards and in boxes in the attic. In particular, I hadn’t realised how many handbags I was hoarding! I love bags, so before getting rid of the old worn-out ones, I wanted to take some pictures of the best ones that I’d like to remake at some point.

This little bag with long strap was one of my favourites as a teen:

Patchwork bag © Becky Skuse

I like the patchwork style of the bag, with all the different shades of fabric and zig-zag stitching over the seam lines. At the time, it was the perfect size for the very few things I needed to carry around at the weekends, so I loved it.

When I was a bit older and at university, I bought this slightly larger bag:

Crochet bag © Becky Skuse

You can see in the top-right corner that it’s a little bit frayed, because I used it so much! This bag reminds me of lazy summers in between years at uni, when I had not a care in the world! I’d spend ages just sitting in the park, reading a uni book, with everything I needed in this bag.

Sometimes I’d just stop and think, watch other people having summer fun, or stare at the pretty crocheted pattern on this bag and wonder how it was made:

Crochet bag stitch pattern © Becky Skuse

These were in the days before I knew much about crochet! Although it was a bit easier to work out how the plaited strap was made:

Crochet bag strap © Becky Skuse

This brown crochet bag has such good memories, I think it’s another contender for a remake at some point.

There was one more gorgeous bag that I found in the back of the cupboard, which just had to be shared with the world:

Vintage bag © Becky Skuse

I bought this bag a few years ago at Beaten Green in St Ives and it was totally love at first sight. It’s such a delicate and pretty vintage bag (I think it’s from the 60s, but I’m not certain), made with luxurious fabric and featuring a delicate pattern of beads and sequins, a clasp opening and flexible gold strap.

A little label inside the bag says ‘Made in Hong Kong’ and I’m intrigued about the lives of the talented seamstresses who would have hand-stitched bags like this. I particularly like the pattern of beads and sequins, although it is a little bit battered:

Vintage bag detail © Becky Skuse

I bought the bag with a view to fixing the broken areas, although I’ve not gotten round to it, and now I’m thinking that actually the broken bits give it character – each stray thread and missing bead or sequin tells a story of glamorous nights out by previous owners. The bag is not just a bag, it’s a key prop in a story I’ve imagined for someone fabulous living during the cultural changes of the 60s. I like the idea that owning this bag is like owning a piece of history, so I need to looking after it and make sure it doesn’t end up at the back of a cupboard again.

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Beading, Crochet, Embroidery, Sewing


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It’s been almost two weeks since my last post, but that’s not because I’ve had nothing crafty to say – it’s because I’ve been on holiday. A week away in Cornwall was just what the doctor ordered, for relaxation, recuperation and also for getting my crafty juices flowing again. In fact, I have so much to blog about now, I don’t know where to start!

Let’s start with some of the amazing scenery that we enjoyed in beautiful St Ives.

St Ives scenery © Rebecca Skuse

Walking along the harbour front or paddling on Porthmeor beach is almost guaranteed to make you feel relaxed. On one of many walks along the harbour front, we noticed some brightly coloured bunting and with delight, I realised it was knitted!

Knitted bunting

I’m a big fan of yarn bombing and the way it brings colour, texture and LIFE to the typically drab, cement-slathered landscape. It was so cheerful, it’s really got the crafty cogs in my brain moving… some yarn bombing campaigns may be on the horizon…

Going to St Ives gave me the chance to return to my favourite vintage shop, Beaten Green. The first time we went, I vowed only to look round and not buy anything… but I failed! They have some gorgeous vintage fabrics and I saw this one and just had to have it:

Vintage fabric from Beaten Green

They also sell lengths of trim and lace, and I think these lengths of delicate blue lace will be perfect for making a bridal garter for my cousin’s fiancee:

Blue lace

While I was there, I also spied some lovely bags, with the tag of Ulster Weavers – a textiles company set up in the 19th century that I’d come across once when writing a feature. The difficult thing was deciding on which one to buy, but eventually I went for the pink, girly one:

Ulster Weavers bag

As if that wasn’t enough crafty temptation, there’s also a gorgeous bead shop along the harbour front, G J Beads. I’ve been spending at least £20 on every visit there ever since it opened! And this trip was no different – here are the gorgeous bits and bobs I bought this time:

Gorgeous beads

So now I’m relaxed, I have plenty of inspiration and also lots of raw materials that I can craft with… it was a true crafty holiday!

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Beading, Knitting, Sewing


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About me

Make Me Do is the blogging home of Becky Skuse – writer, crafter and obsessive organiser. My aim with this blog is to share some of my crafting successes and hopefully have some fun!

I’ve often heard crafters say that they saw a project that just ‘screamed out’ to be made. Well, for me, projects tend to sing rather than scream. And it’s often to the tune of The Beatles’ song Love Me Do. I hear the projects singing: “Make, make me do; You know I love you; So please; Make me dooo.”

I’ve heard it said that great music is like a friend that travels with us on the journey through life. Well, for crafters like me, our makes are the friends who travel with us. They can record specific events in our lives or remind us of struggles that we overcame.

So join me on my crafting journey and let’s make friends.

Becky Skuse


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