Category Archives: Other Crafts

March Meet The Maker

Sometimes things happen that are exactly what you need at exactly the right time. I guess they balance out the times when the worst things happen at the worst time!

Anyway, I’m taking part in an Instagram challenge for crafters called March Meet The Maker and it’s been absolutely the perfect timing for me. After tentatively taking my first steps at getting back to blogging last month, this challenge has helped me to reconnect with social media and the big scary world, after my extended hibernation. It’s easy to forget how important it is to meet other makers and offer each other encouragement and, essentially, love.

Today is International Women’s Day and although not every maker is a woman, many are – and I’m proud of our passion for creativity. At one time, women were only recognised for their ability to do things like create babies, cook meals and keep a clean home. But now, we’re able to use our many talents (such as creativity, an eye for beauty, hard work, organisation and a lot else) to do so much more. I’m very proud to be a woman and feel grateful to the generations of women before us whose suffering and sacrifice helped to give us some of the freedoms we now enjoy. There’s more to do, but that’s another story…

Taking part in March Meet The Maker has reminded me that offering encouragement feels just as good as receiving it. The challenge has a different theme for each day of March and some of the themes have prompted me think about my making from a different angle that I hadn’t considered before. Here’s a brief overview of my posting highlights so far, with links to read more on Instagram:


Day 1: You – introduced myself and admitted that we’d like to get a dog soon!





Day 2: Where – much of the UK was covered in snow on this day so there were lots of lovely wintery photos, including mine!


Baker boy hat with peak


Day 3: How you started – shared my first hat design and how far I’ve come since then!



Denim hat © Becky Skuse


Day 4: Favourite to make – revealed my love of hats and animals, and how I’d like to combine the two somehow…



Day 5: Photography – focused on my husband (he’s a photographer) and how much he’s done for me.




Day 6: Workspace – as I type, we’re having an extension done so the sofa is my workspace. When it’s finished, I will have a craft room which is super exciting!



Day 7: Routine – this was the most interesting day for me because I really struggled with what to say. I don’t have much of a routine, so I wrote about how I often get distracted by projects that organise my crafty goodies!



Day 8: Flatlays – the variety of photos was a treat for the eyes, while I posted the photo that forms the background to this blog!


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Posted by on March 8, 2018 in Other Crafts


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Festive gifts 

Now that the festivities of the big day are over, I think it’s safe to share some of the gifts I made for Christmas…

First off, my mum asked for a bobble hat, so I showed her various yarns and drew different designs, but eventually this is what I crocheted for her:

Crochet hat for mum

Crochet hat for mum

I used an aran-weight alpaca yarn, working in treble stitches in the round. I started off in blue and then worked the increases in red, creating an interlocking spiked effect. There was a lot of colour changing and counting involved, but it was worth it because mum really likes the finished hat. I think it has a subtle crown-like element to it. It’s certainly unusual anyway.

The weather is unseasonably mild at the moment so my mum won’t need to wear it for a while, but she says it’s lovely and cosy. She wanted the big bobble pompom on the top, which used a lot of yarn and took a while to make. And it really does ‘bobble’ about on your head when you wear it, which is fun!

Next up, I also used my crochet hooks to make this adorable owl for my aunty:

Crochet owl

Crochet owl

Owls are my aunty’s favourite and it just so happened that Simply Crochet features an owl pattern in issue 40 (on sale soon) – as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it for her. The pattern actually comes from a book, Sweet Crochet by Sandrine Deveze, and it was really easy to make. I used a cream linen yarn with variegated lengths of sparkly gold, which gives the owl a lovely texture. And of course, I had to make a little gif of him in his natural woodland habitat!

I also made a few foodie treats, as is customary at Christmas. The most effort fun was making jars of pancake mix for two of my cousins. My cousin Adam is coeliac so I had the idea of making him a gluten-free pancake mix, to which he could just add milk (dairy or dairy-free). I like to keep a good stock of empty jars for such occasions, although of course, I had to do a bit of dressing up to make the jar look festive:

Pancake mix

Pancake mix

So I glued a circle of red fabric over the lid, then added a circle of glittery gold netting over the top and worked some gathering stitches to keep the two fabric layers in place. Then I added another piece of festive ribbon to the body of the jar (my mum had just given me this ribbon so that was perfect timing!). The only thing missing was a label, so I designed that on the computer, printed out the front and back, glued the two sides together and attached it to the jar with a small piece of ribbon. Here’s a close-up view of the label:

Gluten-free pancake mix label

Gluten-free pancake mix label

This jar turned out so good that I decided to make a second jar (not gluten free) for another cousin – I figured, who doesn’t like pancakes? They’re such a treat, which is what Christmas is all about.

Pancake label

If you’re interested in the recipe for the pancake mix, please head to my foodie blog, where you’ll also find some of the other foodie treats I made for a happy vegan Christmas! Hope you had a good one 🙂

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Baking, Crochet, Other Crafts, Sewing


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Make: Easy bunting

Today’s post is all about brightening up dark hallways, with super-easy tassels, pompoms and fringing – in the shape of this cute bunting I made back in July for Simply Crochet magazine…

Tassel bunting

Tassel bunting

Below is the free pattern to make this bunting – and it only involves the tiniest bit of crocheting so anyone can make it!

The only conditions are:
• Please don’t claim the design as your own.
• Please only make this bunting for your own personal use, NOT to make any money out of it.
• Please let me know if you make the bunting! Thank you 🙂

You will need
DK cotton yarn (or any yarn) in three different colours (I used Rowan Handknit Cotton DK, 100% cotton, 50g/85m, 1 ball of each: Blue John (365), Bee (364), Florence (350), Ecru (251))
A 4mm (US G/6) hook
Spare cardboard
Standard-size fork
One stitch marker
Tapestry needle

Bunting string measures approx 2.5m
Tassels measure approx 7cm long, 1.5cm wide
Medium pompoms measure approx 4cm in diameter
Small pompoms measure approx 3cm in diameter
Tiny pompoms measure approx 1.5cm in diameter

You can adjust the length of the bunting to suit you. Make the tassels, pompoms and fringing in any size you like, and add as many as you like, using any combination of colours. Dig into your stash and see what you can find!

Make the tassels
Cut a piece of cardboard measuring 5cm wide and 7cm long. Make a 1cm cut on one of the short ends of the card.

Tie a knot in one end of your yarn and secure it around the slot. Wrap the yarn around the length of the card to the thickness you require. If you’d like to use more than one colour, knot the yarns together at the base of the card and carry on wrapping around.

Cut a small length of yarn and thread onto a needle. Pass the needle under the yarn wraps at the top of the cardboard and tie the two ends in a knot to secure. Cut through the bottom wraps of the tassel and snip off the starting knot.

Cut another length of yarn and wrap it tightly around the tassel, approx 2cm from the top, to form the head. Thread the yarn end onto a needle and insert it down inside the head wraps. Trim the end to the same length as the tassel. Trim the ends of the tassel to neaten the edges.

Make one tassel in yellow, one in orange and two in blue.

Make the medium pompoms
Draw a ring onto a piece of cardboard, 5cm in diameter, with a hole in the centre that’s 2cm in diameter.

Wind your yarn into tiny balls that are small enough to push through the narrow hole at the centre of your cardboard rings.

Hold the two cardboard rings together and wrap your yarn around them, threading it through the centre and working all around the cardboard until it’s covered by several layers of yarn.

Once the rings are covered, insert a pair of scissors between the two pieces of card and carefully cut the yarn around the edge of the rings. Try to ensure none of the yarn slips out of position as you do this.

Cut a separate length of yarn and knot it tightly around the middle of the bundle of yarn between the two rings. Ease the rings off the pompom and fluff up the yarn. Trim any uneven bits with scissors.

Make one medium pompom in yellow, one in orange and one in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 4cm in diameter.

Make the small pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the small pompoms. Wrap the yarn around the outer edge of all four prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 3cm apart. Then knot a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape.
Make two small pompoms in yellow, two in orange and two in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 3cm in diameter.

Make the tiny pompoms
Use a standard fork to make the tiny pompoms. Wrap the yarn around three prongs of the fork, the prongs should be approx 1.5cm apart. Then tie a length of yarn around the middle of the wraps. Cut into the loops on both sides and then trim into a spherical shape. Make four tiny pompoms in yellow, four in orange and four in blue.
Trim into a spherical shape, approx 1.5cm in diameter.

Make the bunting string
Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, make a chain the length that you’d like your bunting to be. Fasten off and weave in ends.Then sew the tassels, medium pompoms and small pompoms in place onto the chain length.

This is what I did: Using Ecru and a 4mm hook, ch6, ss to first ch (to form hanging loop), ch50, join blue tassel in the last chain you made, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join medium yellow pompom, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join orange tassel, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join medium blue pompom, ch25, join small orange pompom, ch25, join yellow tassel, ch25, join small blue pompom, ch25, join medium orange pompom, ch25, join small yellow pompom, ch25, join blue tassel, ch50, place marker, ch6, ss to marked chain (to form other hanging loop). Remove marker. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Make the fringing
Cut eight lengths of Ecru yarn, approx 13cm long.
Take one length of yarn and fold it in half. Count 8 chains to the right of where you attached the blue tassel.
In the 9th chain, attach the first length of fringing yarn. To do this, insert a 4mm hook into the chain, loop the yarn length over the hook and pull back through the fabric. Pull the yarn through to make a loop next to the hook. Pass the ends of the yarn through this loop. Pull tight to secure.
Attach the remaining 7 lengths of fringing yarn in the next 7 chains.

Repeat this process in each gap between the pompoms and tassels (12 areas of fringing altogether).
Trim any uneven lengths of yarn for a neat finish.

Sew the 12 tiny pompoms to the bunting string, positioning each one at the centre of each fringing area. Attach the tiny yellow pompoms between the blue and orange decorations, the tiny blue pompoms between the yellow and orange decorations, and the tiny orange pompoms between the yellow and blue decorations.

Weave in any remaining ends and hang up.

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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Crochet, Other Crafts


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Creative string

Sorry for the delay in posts, we had a week’s holiday in Cornwall – beforehand we were busy packing and working, then afterwards we were busy unpacking and working. So the blog got neglected, but I have still been crafting!

We went on holiday to St Ives in Cornwall, which was typically chilly and rainy for November, but it was still beautiful and relaxing. On the most rainy day, we went to the Tate in St Ives. Their exhibitions are always interesting and usually include some pieces by Barbara Hepworth, a talented sculptor and artist who lived and created in St Ives and was made a Dame for it.

This time, there were some wonderful sculptures by Hepworth on display, using string in really interesting ways. Understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the art, so go here or here to see the kind of thing I mean – these aren’t the exact ones that we saw, but they’re very similar.

I love how she uses the string to imply a connectivity and tension between two objects, like the invisible strings of our own lives pull us towards the people, places and activities that we love.

People sometimes refer to yarn as ‘string’ and I kind of like the idea that modern knitters are continuing to be creative with string, like Hepworth was.

Her sculptures also reminded me of the geometric Spirograph pen drawings (like these) I used to make as a child – they were so much fun, I’d spend hours doing them!

I was also reminded of a string art picture that I made when I was around 10 or 11 – it was a kit that included a thick piece of chipboard, some black felt that went over the top and a ton of nails that you hammered into the chipboard according to a paper guide. Then you’d wrap the string around the nails in a specific way to create a picture. Mine was an owl…

Owl string art

Owl string art

When we got home, I decided to dig it out of the attic and was surprised at how well I’d made it! Here’s a close-up…

Owl close-up

Owl close-up

With my new-found perspective on string as art, I bought a special frame for it and I’m planning to give it to a special owl-loving family member for Christmas. I hope she likes the creative string art and the legacy that it comes from.

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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Crochet, Knitting, Other Crafts


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More bedroom crafts

Having finished our shiny new bedroom through our DIY efforts, my attention has turned to crafty pursuits to personalise our new space.

We made our own headboard, using a piece of MDF, a spare duvet, a staple gun and a piece of faux suede fabric in dusky green. We’d never done anything like it before, but we figured it out and it looks great – and it’s v comfy for leaning against.

Bedroom headboard

Bedroom headboard

I used some of the fabric off-cuts and spare ribbon to make some thin strips to hang from the new wardrobe’s pull-out hook device (thanks Ikea!) – I’m now using the strips to hang up my earrings and brooches, which makes deciding what to wear much more fun!

Bedroom earrings store

Bedroom earrings store

Bedroom earrings store close-up

Bedroom earrings store close-up


















There are still a few things left for me/us to craft though. I need to make mats for everything on our windowsill, to prevent my beautiful new paintwork from being ruined. For now, I’m improvising with whatever I can find around the house – yes, this is an oven mitt…

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Bedroom temporary plant mat

I also need to buy or craft a lamp for my bedside table – we used to have some fairylights strung up above the bed, but they’re not really compatible with the new headboard. So for now I’ve made a make-shift lamp using the fairylights and a spare vase. It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite right either…

Bedroom lamp

Bedroom lamp

Some of these little extras might not be finished yet, but my favourite ‘extra’ is finished and is taking pride of place on the bed – yes, it’s my soft, colourful, gorgeous rainbow granny blanket… now all I need is some cold weather!

You can buy the pattern for this blanket, either on Ravelry here or on Etsy here.

Bedroom granny blanket

Bedroom granny blanket

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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Crochet, Other Crafts, Sewing


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Weymouth crafts

As a little reward for my hard work doing DIY, I went with my folks and one of my nieces to Weymouth for the day. We had terrible luck with the train (a 2-hour delay on a 2-hour journey!) but great luck with the weather, which was gorgeous!

I took my camera just in case, but I didn’t think there would be anything craft-related on the beach – how wrong I was…

Right next to where we were sitting was this sand sculpture (by the time we got there, it had been a bit trampled on, which was a shame):

Weymouth sand sculpture

Weymouth sand sculpture

We made our own sandcastles, but they were nowhere near as good as this. My niece likes to finish each sandcastle with a shell and while we were looking for shells, my mum found these two amazingly tiny but beautifully formed shells:

Weymouth tiny shells

Weymouth tiny shells

Yes, that’s my hand and yes they were that tiny! (Well, it is called the ‘Jurassic Coast’.) I’ve brought them home as mementos and might use them in some craft project some time.

We also did plenty of paddling, while collecting shells, and spent a lot of time looking down to find pretty shells and make sure we didn’t step on anything too pointy in our bare feet. I love how this little paddling snap came out:

Weymouth paddling

Weymouth paddling

Then my niece decided to get creative, too, and write her name, Jenny, in the sand (she’s only 4 so it’s pretty impressive):

Weymouth words in the sand

Weymouth words in the sand

After playing around at the water’s edge for a bit, I looked up and noticed a sign, which (as a crafter) made me excited, puzzled and then amused (all in a split second). After taking the shot, it reminded me of some of the interesting, thought-provoking photos I’ve seen on a photo-a-day blog that I follow – So I’d like to dedicate this picture to Juliebie, as an homage to what you do every day – hope you like!

Weymouth craft

Weymouth craft

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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Other Crafts


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Bedroom crafting

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve not been sat doing nothing. Far from it.
I’ve been very busy, with my other half, redecorating our bedroom. For the past month, we’ve had very little time to do anything else but DIY and go to work.

So I’ve been pondering the question, does DIY count as crafting?

One of our main jobs was filling holes and surprisingly to me, I’ve discovered a hidden talent for doing this!
I also found that I’m pretty good at painting the fiddly edges – endless patience, a steady hand and good eyesight seemed to be the key (all important attributes for crafting as well).

Bedroom_skirtingSo here’s a shot of my three favourite features of the room – the walls painted with ‘Mango Melody 4’ (it only took 4 tester pots before we found the perfect orangey-pinky shade); the matt white skirting boards (something we’ve not had in the bedroom since we moved in 10 years ago!); and the deep, luxurious, mushroom-coloured carpet on a floor that no longer creaks (because we screwed down all the floorboards to within an inch of their lives!).

We also ‘crafted’ a whole new wardrobe, full of shelves, drawers and rails, as well as sliding doors featuring mirrors and oak-effect panels…

Bedroom_wardrobePutting together flat-pack Ikea furniture doesn’t seem like a creative craft, but it did involve following instructions (like a pattern), using tools (screwdrivers instead of knitting needles), and planning where to place individual characteristics (shelves rather than stitches) to achieve a pleasing end result.

So DIY does seem to share some similarities to crafting, but I know which one I enjoy more, even though I am sleeping better now…

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Posted by on September 12, 2014 in Other Crafts


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