pin cushion

A solution to my sewing envy

by Helen on August 18, 2014

“The main difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is an emotion related to coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.”

Neither envy nor jealousy are attractive emotions  and I must admit I wasn’t too clear on the difference between them until I found the definition above.  Then I realised that jealousy is most frequently exhibited by my rather greedy Newfies. Ben in particular will stare very hard indeed when treats are being given out to make sure he, rather than Miss Daisy, has received the largest, tastiest portion of whatever’s on offer.

But I have not been suffering from jealousy, but rather have been the victim of a nasty case of sewing envy.  Let me explain ….

Earlier in the year I watched, and very much enjoyed, the Great British Sewing Bee.  Above is the winner, Heather, with the object of my sewing envy – her pincushion dog!!  Oooooh, how I envied that dog.  Every episode she would retrieve it from her bag and place it firmly on her work table knowing she’d have everything she needed readily to hand.  I, on the other hand, am always losing my tape measure, finding my needle book is elsewhere and scissors, well let’s not even think about the places they need to be retrieved from.

Over time though, I came to realise that it wasn’t so much Heather’s dog itself I was envious of, rather than the idea that all those essential bits and pieces could be instantly to hand in a practical and easily portable form.  Then, one afternoon, as I was sitting in the summer house drinking (probably about my third cup!)  tea, inspiration came to me …..

My September House pin cushion.  It’s more than just a pin cushion though.  Firmly stuffed with a few beach pebbles weighting the base (Heather’s dog always went down with a satisfying thud), it has a needlebook hidden in its roof as well as pockets for scissors and tape …

And then some room for pins of course ….

And my case of sewing envy is cured!

The pattern for my September House pin cushion will be in the September issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine published on Thursday 28th August.




I think everybody loves a pretty pin cushion, and I’m no exception to that rule!

Sometimes it’s nice to use an item that you haven’t made yourself  – there are so many talented makers out there – and as I’ve been hunting for that perfect new addition to my workroom supplies I thought you might like to see some of the delicious designs I’ve discovered online …..


One: Teacup Pincushion by Coco Rose Textiles (  Two: Cupcake Pin Cushion by CrystalCreates2001, Etsy ( Three: Personalised Sewing Machine Pin Cushion by RosieBull Designs, Not on the High Street (  Four: Jammy Dodger Biscuit Pin Cushion by feltsofancy, Etsy (www.Etsy.comLittle Hedgehog Pin Cushion by the imagination of ladysnail, Not on the Highstreet (

Of course over the years I’ve made many of my own pin cushions, and I think the most popular design ever must be my version of a classic make – the Pin Cushion Mice……

They’re just so cute – and a perfect make to keep kids busy on a rainy afternoon in the summer holidays!  If you haven’t downloaded your free Pin Cushion Mice pattern yet, you’ll find it over on my free patterns page along with lots of other goodies too.

If you do decide to download the Pin Cushion Mice, then you’ll be amongst the first to see my new logo and style – I’m so excited about it!  I’ve just begun the process of updating and revising my patterns ready for my new website coming in September, and thought the Pin Cushion Mice was the perfect pattern to start with.  I do hope you like Bustle & Sew’s new look – I’d love to hear what you think!


Purple Days … and a winner!

by Helen on September 15, 2013

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my toadstool pin cushion giveaway.  I was blown away by both the number – and the creativity of everyone’s entries – one of my most favourite giveaways ever!  If you have a few moments, please do take a look at the comments, there are some brilliant and imaginative suggestions for residency of my toadstool pin cushions.

Toadstool Pin Cushions

 As always, I wish I had a prize for everyone, but as I only have one to give away on my blog, I worked the random number generator which came up with – 166.  I counted carefully and the winner is …  Lynda Lagodney.  Well done Lynda – I’ll be in touch to request your postal address – and once again, thanks to everyone who entered – it was fun!!

I was going to announce the winner yesterday, but ran out of time – had a very purple day!  We’ve been promised a day of wind and rain today, so I thought I’d better enjoy yesterday’s sunshine with the newfies.  We headed off down to Snapes Point, near Salcombe for a little blackberrying … 

Blackberrying September 2013

 And found loads!  Plump, juicy, dusky purple berries in abundance ….

Blackberrying September 2013All ready to be made into my Auntie Joyce’s Bramble Curd – delish! The full account of our expedition, together with recipes for blackberries, apples and damsons will be in the October issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.  And it really was an expedition … here’s one very tired puppy ….

Blackberrying September 2013 enjoying a nap in the garden on our return home!  But yesterday wasn’t just about purple berries….. I have a new purple cardigan for the winter – nice wool, deep rich colour – but perhaps just a little plain. … until now!

Autumn Hedgerows Applique Cardigan


  I’ll include templates and instructions in this month’s magazine too.  And finally – thinking about the magazine – I promised to include the first of this year’s Christmas projects – and here’s a sneak peek ….

Mary & Joseph

 Mary and Joseph from the first-ever Bustle & Sew Nativity set. Hope you like them! 


Toadstool Pin Cushion Giveaway

by Helen on September 6, 2013

I’m having a giveaway as I simply don’t have room to keep everything I make!  I’ve decided to part with my two little toadstool pin cushions, created using vintage wooden cotton spools,  for the September Bustle & Sew Magazine.  I’m offering one here on the blog, and there’s a chance to win the second over on my Facebook page

Toadstool Giveaway

If you’d like the chance to win a toadstool pin cushion then all you need to do is leave a comment below – and if you like, just for fun, please tell me who you think might be living in one of these desirable little fairy residences – Tinkerbell perhaps?  Or maybe a little family of hedgehogs?  

The winner will be chosen by random selection, and the competition here on the blog will close next Thursday 12th September.  And yes, I will post worldwide.  Good luck everyone!

PS If you’d like to make your own toadstool pin cushion, then the pattern is available here.