Sunday, 13 November 2011

Re-stringing old broken necklaces

First of all if the beads are of a complicated design draw the design or take a photograph and measure the length.  Cut the old thread and remove the beads. I always wash glass beads in hot soapy water, for this I use a cereal bowl. Swirl them around with your fingers then leave them to soak for a least an hour or better still overnight. When ready to start re-stringing tip the beads into a fine sieve and carefully rinse under running tap and drain, tip out on to a towel and rub gently with the towel to dry taking great care not to lose any. Trust me they are much nicer to handle when washed!

Sort all the beads on to a tray.
If you don't have a beading mat use a towel.
Measure out beading thread 4 times the length requied.
Knot and put a safety pin at knot.
(Vital piece of equipment in my books!)
Thread a few beads, about half dozen or so, add
Knot Cover (Calotte) and seed bead
Go round the seed bead and through the Knot Cover and
journey back through the beads to the safety pin
pulling the thread taught  but not too tightly
- easy once you get the hang of it!
continue adding the rest of the beads the add the
Knot Cover and seed bead and repeat the above going the
other way back to the safety pin
Remove the safety pin and knot the ends.
Re-thread the ends on the needle and thread through
a few beads then snip ends.
Do Not snip ends near the knot

Go to the Knot Covers

with a pair of pliers gently close over the seed bead

Attach the Knot Covers to the clasps

There is another necklace showing similar details here

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Enlarging a Zip!

I can see all of you thinking the woman's gone mad!  You cannot enlarge a zip!  I needed a 24" (61cm) for a large cushion cover, they were not available in the shop I work in so I thought two 12" (30 cm) zips will work! 
Pin the zips with the top ends facing each other and overlap the spare fabric at the ends.  Insert the zip as you would normally.  Complete the cushion cover in the normal way.  You can put them in closer together if you wish I wanted the zips to fit exactly to the fabric.

This works for bags and cushions

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Like everything, if you want something done well then take it slowly and carefully.

I always press fabric I am going to stitch together first,  the pressing with the iron seems to stick the pieces together. Add the next piece after you have pressed the seams flat.  As time goes on you will find this becomes easy.
Press the seams flat add the next piece and so on........

Get to know your machine.  The instructions in my book to make a patchwork square says machine a scant quarter of an inch.  I don't have a quarter inch marked on the needle plate, so I marked the first pieces of  fabric a quarter inch in from edge with pencil and placed it under the presser foot and placed the needle on the mark by hand then carefully machined a line of stitches.   As you see quarter of an inch takes me to the one of Feed Dogs.  Each sewing machine is different so find a mark you can remember. 

If you are machining a lot of squares at the same time machine them in a chain - Slowly and Carefully Do Not speed your way through the process as this can distort fabric and make the stitches uneven,

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

If you have a Phobia of Spiders Don't Look!

Have you ever gone to run a bath and found one of these sitting waiting for you............?

I'm sure you know of this already, but just in case here's what to do........
Place a large glass (pint size is best and if you are really squeamish one with a handle!) over the spider.
Lift glass - not too much as to let the spider out and slip a piece of card between spider and bath
Flip over glass hold tightly to glass and throw the spider out of the window shouting GERONIMO!
Walk to the bottom of the garden and let it free there!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Unpicking rows of knitting

If you have been merrily knitting away and then found a mistake and you have had to unpick a few rows of knitting

Use a much finer knitting needle to carefully pick up the stitches

Knit from the finer needle

Then continue knitting as normal on the pair od needles you were working on.

It doesn't have to be a complicated pattern it works well with just ordinary Stocking Stitch too!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Broken Zip

Hands up......who doesn't like replacing zips especially the ones in trousers! I was shown how to do this many many moons ago. It is very simple once you get the hang of it!

Broken zip

Push the zipper tag to the base of the zip

Snip just above the zipper tag......

........remove a few of the zipper teeth

Gently pushing the snipped part of the zipper into the tag and pull as normal

Oversew above the snipped area with very strong thread (button thread is ideal)

Zip is working once again

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Depending how deep you would like your cake and what sort or mixer you use. I have both a Kenwood (larger bowl) and a hand mixer (smaller bowl). If using the Kenwood I use three eggs and if using the hand mixer two eggs. My Kenwood dosen't seem to like to mix just a small amount of cake mix. There is nothing to stop to you make cake with three eggs and a hand mixer the choice is yours!

Pre heat the oven at 170 degrees fahrenheit, 325 degrees centigrade, gas 3

Accurately weigh the eggs in their shells, then to the same weight, weigh soften Butter, Sugar and Self Raising Flour

Beat the soften Butter and Sugar till very pale. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into mixture. I NOW add a desert spoonful of water and beat in at this point too as I find electric ovens dry out the mixture.

My mixture always curdles without fail, but I don't worry about it anymore! Sift the Flour, it doesn't matter whether the flour is the cheapest or the dearest I always sieve it! Then fold gently into the mixture.

YES! I cheat I buy the large cake cases. They are meant for large fruit cakes but I find they work well for my cakes! I always weigh the mixture as I am putting the mixture into the prepared tins to make sure I get equal in both tins.

After about 25 to 30 minutes check to see of the cakes are cooked. I can never get it right with my fingers I always use a skewer or a metal knitting needle!

Look closely you will see the cake mix has risen above the tin

When the cakes are cold fill with favourite filling


Wednesday, 8 June 2011


People ask me how I get my scones the way I do, well............

I use Delia Smith's recipe I used to use a recipe that pre-dated Delia! I use ordinary white sugar and semi-skimmed milk though. Don't know why but I weigh all the dry ingredients together think I was in a hurry one day and not concentrating!

When all the dough is mixed together lightly mould into a round like this about an inch high. I have never used a rolling pin for Scones. This is the way my grandmother showed me after presenting her with a hard round thing I made at school once!

Use a straight edge cutter.

Push straight down into the dough, and pull straight out. NEVER twist the cutter or the dough, this is the secret!!

Brush with either milk or egg


In case you are wondering that fifth scone is the left-over dough just roll it into a ball and cook, 'cooks' scones to try straight from the oven!