Tips and Techniques


Rising to the challenge . . .I actually dared to try running a cheeky little workshop myself. Oh Joy!!!   Even the planning was fun.  And of course it meant I had to do a little shopping trip to Dunelm Mill and Hobbycraft, not forgetting the endless hours of fun on Ebay searching for trimmings.

So, by popular request it was time to find out what to do with a teacup and saucer.  Yes, yes, I know … we could have been drinking tea.  But come on .. we are adventurous crafty women and there are no boundaries to our imaginations.  Ok, I admit there might have been tea involved too, but let’s face we are resourceful ladies and we can drink tea from anything!

Mrs Bucket drinking tea

Down to business, here it is . . .



  • A teacup & saucer or any type of receptacle you wish.
  • Fabric (cotton works best)
  • One toe (approx. 4-6 inches in length) from old Tights or pop socks
  • Toy stuffing and/or pin cushion filling
  • Glue (superglue or hot glue gun)
  • Needle and thread
  • Silk or fabric flowers
  • Buttons. Beads and Embellishments


  1. Measure the diameter of the teacup

Cut a circle of fabric twice the diameter of the teacup and iron to remove any creases.

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  1. Cut the toe from a pair of tights or a pop sock – approx. 4-6 inches long.

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Stuff the filling into the toe and squeeze tightly into a ball shape (at this point you can add the pin cushion filling (within its own nylon pocket) to the centre of the ball to help keep your pins sharp).
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Try the ball inside the cup to ensure it is the correct size and when you are happy tie a knot in the cut end of the nylons so that the stuffing is secure inside the ball and trim off any excess.

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  1. Using strong thread make a running stitch around the outer edge of the fabric circle (approx. 1/8th Inch from edge).

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Place the Nylon ball of stuffing in the centre of the fabric and draw the thread through to encase the ball inside the fabric circle.  Secure by over-sewing.

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Don’t worry too much about the bottom of the fabric ball being perfectly neat as it will be hidden inside the cup.

  1. Put some glue in the bottom and around the edge of your teacup (but not too close to the top) and press the fabric ball into the cup and hold until firm. You will have a few seconds before the glue sets firm to ensure you have got it exactly as you want it because you can’t undo this bit.

Place glue on the bottom of the cup and also in the centre of the saucer and press firmly together holding for a few seconds until the glue dries.

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  1. Now you can have fun decorating your pin cushion. Here what you do is completely up to you.  You can try:
  • Adding some flower embellishments to the saucer around the base of the cup – this also helps to conceal the glue used to attach the cup to the saucer.
  • Decorating the rim of the cup with beads or lace to conceal the area where you attached the fabric ball inside the cup.
  • Adding some fabric or ribbon bows and even using buttons or beads to give your pin cushion that special touch.
  • Use anything you wish to embellish the teacup because this is what makes it unique and special for you.

Finally, take a good look at your finished pin cushion and remove any stray strands of glue which may be a little unsightly.

Now you are finished and this is where a second cup will come in handy for a well-deserved cup of tea – well done!


When using the glue gun, you need to place things quite quickly because the glue is fast drying.  Also please be careful because the glue can be very hot, so watch your fingers!!


WORKSHOP CHALLENGE No. 1 (January 2015)

Our first workshop of the year was led by one of our own ladies.  Jeannie has been re-cycling, up-cycling and all sorts of cycling (except those linked to a bicycle) and has produced some beautiful items (you can see some of her creations on the Inspiration Strikes page).  So we were very lucky that she came along armed with her glue gun to show us how to make a fabric broach/corsage.

She took us, step-by-step, through fabric selection, sewing the fabric strips with a gathering stitch, layering up the gathered circles and adding those final embellishments.

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Once the final flower is glued firmly together (or stitched in place – the choice is yours)

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[Remember – each flower can be totally individual and unique depending on your choice and size of fabric]

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all there is left to do is decide what you want to use it for . . . .

1. Making a broach – simply add a fastening to the back of the flower:

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2. Decorating a headband –  For that finishing touch wrap a simple plastic headband in fabric to match the flower – this really gives such a professional finish:

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3. Embellishments for other projects such as a bag:

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The possibilities are endless!!

Jeannie is a total inspiration when it comes to her creativity. We were all so engrossed watching this demonstration I think I can honestly say our group has never been so quiet.

On a personal note . . . I was so inspired that a mere 48 hrs after the demonstration my blonde highlights had gone and I was sporting a glossy dark brown hairdo, I had purchased a glue gun with a ‘shed load’ of glue sticks, and within the week I was messing around with pink fabric and lace.  In fact if it was in the house and wasn’t moving it either had lace attached to it or was covered in pink sequins and pearl beads.

For anyone who knows me .. this was quite the personal transformation.  I may never be the same again!!!

Pink Sequins

The same fate awaits my cat if he ever sits still long enough for me to sparkle him up … but here is a picture I found as inspiration:


Watch out for more workshops throughout the year!!



You may remember that on our first week back this year Debbie set us a great challenge to each make a scissor pouch (see Inspiration Strikes).  I know that everyone totally enjoyed working on this and we looked forward to doing more sessions like that.  So there may have been a little whisper this week about a possible future masterclass session.  I will of course keep you informed but for now . . .

zipped lips

My lips are sealed!!!


My date with a Hot Overlocker!

What’s an overlocker?  What does it do?  Well let me tell you. Once you have had a date with one of these hot little machines there will be no going back.  Sewing projects used to be simple – lots of ironing down multi-turned hems and hands that ached from cutting with pinking shears. At least I thought it was all simple until today.  Who knew that a rainy Sunday afternoon would see a light dawning on my crafty little existence?  The arrival of the OVERLOCKER!!!!!  OMG life will never be the same again.

Now for the technical bit . . .

An overlocker is a machine that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of material for edging, hemming or seaming.  Most overlockers will also cut the excess fabric as it sews creating a finished and professional look to sewing projects.


I was like an overlocking demon throughout all of Sunday afternoon and even had my mum involved overlocking the hems of her curtains.  So now that every piece of fabric in my home has been overlocked (he he) I am ready to start creating lovely items with a super professional finish!!!



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