Things I can’t manage without!

The IT problems we’ve been experiencing for the best part of a week now have made me think a little about some of the things I simply can’t manage without.  Chocolate of course, Philosophy beauty products (my fave for many years), my trusty laptop – these are some of the larger things.  But there are smaller items that I would struggle to manage without when I’m working and I thought I’d mention a couple of them in this post…

Things I can't manage without

My two chosen items are both tools that I use almost every day – the seemingly random combination of Sharpie pens and bamboo skewers. I put together most of my patterns on my laptop as I have mastered using a tablet and pen so I can draw straight to screen.  But I still use Sharpies, finding that, for me, they’re by far the best choice for tracing applique shapes onto the paper side of Bondaweb.

Reindeer Tracings

I find ordinary marker pens don’t dry quickly enough (I’m a bit impatient when working) and have a tendency to smudge, whilst Sharpies dry almost instantly and give a nice clear line for cutting purposes.  Above you can see I’ve been tracing reindeer for my reindeer bunting pattern in the December Bustle & Sew Magazine.  Sharpies are also great for writing on our pretty dotty – or floral – posting bags when I’m sending out kits and fabric panels.   Which brings me to the bamboo skewers.  These are perfectly ordinary everyday skewers, that just happen to make absolutely wonderful stuffing sticks!  Simply break off the pointy tip ….

bamboo skewer

And fray the remaining end.  I use an old pair of scissors for this.  Fray it down around 1/2″.   Then I use this end  to “grab” and push stuffing into narrow limbs and hard to reach places when I’m making softies like Ratty from my Wind in the Willows collection ….


Perfect for pushing stuffing down into those long narrow arms and legs.  Such a cheap and easy tool, and super-effective too.  If you find the stuffing is still hard to manage even after you’ve frayed the end of your stuffing stick, then try twirling it as you push – guaranteed to work every time!!

If you have a strange tool that you couldn’t manage without when sewing I’d love to hear about it!

PS I’m sorry to say that my email still isn’t working, so my apologies if you’ve been trying to contact me.  If it’s urgent then please just leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you as soon as I am able.


I always learn so many wonderful ideas from you! I,too,use Sharpies and bamboo skewers with the point snipped off, but I have never tried fraying the end! What a wonderful idea! I shall certainly borrow that idea if I may when next stuffing a softie! Thank you!
XX Linda


I find the fraying makes all the difference as it stops the skewer just sliding through the stuffing – do please let me know how you get on xx


I use wooden skewers as well. I never thought of fraying the end. What a great idea. Thank you.


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