classes · Crafts · cruising · Jewellery making · Necklace · Silk ribbon · Uncategorized

Craft classes at sea

………September already, so time to think about next years cruises.

Seeing as we have had hardly any summer days in Edinburgh, I am looking forward to chasing the sun in 2020.

Although Bill, my husband and I have travelled as passengers, I have also taught arts and crafts for the last ten years, and feel privileged to have taught for Cunard, Saga, Fred Olsen and CMV.

Teaching on a ship is very different than onshore. The logistics include transporting materials and tools to the departure point; this can be anywhere from your local port to one at the other side of the world, occasionally at one days notice!

Planning is done months ahead and precise preparation is imperative – there are no branches of Hobbycraft or Michael’s in the middle of the Atlantic! Luckily, I have never forgotten anything on 25 cruises. Because I teach various crafts the list is extensive and can include crochet hooks, glue, cocktail sticks, written instructions, scissors, paint brushes, paint, needles, wire, beads, baby wipes……the list goes on and on.

I have been looking at photos of previous cruise projects for inspiration

Wire crochet necklace with silk ribbon and Swarovski pearls
Silk ribbon rose – for brooch, bag or hat
Swarovski briolette pendant

Crochet mini frames

Dorset buttons

Designer gift wrapping

Chalcedony earrings

Decorative painting for beginners

Shuttle tatting for beginners

Silk ribbon embroidery


Canal boat painting

Hoop embroidery

Wool tartan brooch for Burns night

Destination themed Valentine’s Day card

Twenty dollar origami shirt card

Made with a sheet of A4 paper

A4 paper bag

Gift wrapping

Oriental painting

Pin cushions

Must go…..lots to do preparing new projects.

If you are reading this and work for a cruise company please contact me. I can design unique projects to suit your budget and destinations.

……and if you are going on a cruise I hope to see you onboard. Please send me an email and I can let you know which cruises I will be on

Gill xx


How to stiffen tatting

I first used home made stiffener many many years ago when I crocheted baskets, snowflakes and doilies.
I made my own stiffener by dissolving sugar in boiled water. Although this did work it had certain disadvantages such as it being sticky and messy. There was aleays the risk of burnt fingers too! Also the sugar can attract pests……not a good look!
Another method you can use is making up a mix of white glue and water, but this entails measuring, mixing and mess.
I was delighted to test  DecoArt  Fabric Stiffener and it worked a treat on my tatting  – no more messy pots, bowls, measuring or burnt fingers!
Americana Fabric Stiffener can be used to shape and stiffen silk flowers, appliqués, lace, fabric, ribbon, crochet and tatting. It gives a long lasting finish and dries clear. You can add paint to it to change the colour if you can paint it when dry.
To use it simply either pour some into a bowl and immerse the item or apply to both sides with a small brush.
I prefer the brush method for tatting as it so delicate and the spaces could get clogged.
 Although one  coat   would suffice I applied two coats to each side allowing it to dry overnight
You can see on this two layer piece how well it worked and how the centre stands up nicely.
I am not posting before and after pictures as it would be difficult to show how stiff the pieces are.
These hearts are a tatting pattern by Decorama

I stiffened pieces tatting with cotton crochet thread and c-Lon nylon thread and it worked well on both

This product is:
water based
Soap and water clean up
If you have never tatted before but would like to try there are lots of tutorials and videos online. It is a very nice craft to do and I like the fact that it is so transportable (is that a word?)
Please feel free to contact me if I can help with links etc

Let’s Create with Shibori Ribbon

Working with Shibori Ribbon

“With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown”– Chinese Proverb

Who doesn’t love silk? Any of you who know me or follow my blog will know that I love working with silk ribbon. Recently I came across picture of a project made with Shibori silk ribbon. I had never seen, or heard of it before, and it is not surprising that I had to try it.

According to Wikipedia the earliest example of the shibori technique dates from the 8th century, in Japan.

The modern method is to wrap  ribbon around a pipe, tightly wrap a cord around it, scrunch the fabric together, then apply cold water dye with a sponge.

I ordered  ribbon from Etsy and waited patiently for it to come across the pond to Scotland. Unfortunately I had a little shock when Royal Mail popped a card through my door advising that I owed over £11 custom duty in addition to £11 postage! I have known for years that you pay duty if your order is above a certain level, unless your package contains a gift (from a residential address in the US) or is samples.

….I grudgingly lol paid the money and received some beautiful ribbon.

After having made a couple pendants (see above pictures) I decided to make a bib necklace

This type of work, along with beading is normally worked on a specialist backing material such as Lacy’s Stiff Stuff.  I was sure there must be a cheaper alternative that could provide the same benefits.

I discovered I could use Vilene Heavy duty Interfacing and, guess what? It had all the qualities I was looking for – it can be coloured with permanent markers, cut to shape, pieces can be butted together and it can be painted with DecoArt So Soft Fabric Paint  so that any parts not embellished will blend in.

For this necklace I cut out a template, interfacing and suede backing material,  then painted the  interfacing with a 60/40 paint/water mix of So Soft paint. I then left it to dry overnight.

My beading needle went through easily and I had no problem gluing on the suede backing when the project was complete (I used Crafter’s Pick glue)

In the picture below you can see where the backing is showing. Most of this will be covered with beading, cabochons or rhinestones but, if there is a part showing it will now hardly be noticeable.

I am loving working with this medium and, already I have been inspired to try new things to embellish the projects. I have just about mastered beading Swarovski Rivoli chatons and am working on learning the soutache technique.
This piece of sea glass and pearls is encased in soutache cord
The possibilities are endless with shibori and the sewing is something you can really get absorbed in – the only down points are pricked fingers and picking up dropped beads which seem to get everywhere!
Thanks for your visit – I would love to know you have been and it would be lovely if you leave a comment
Bye for now