I am not one to who usually approves of wishing ones life away, however when it is the name of yarny goodness I believe I can make an exception! So, it is with much joy that I can tell you that it is a mere 100 days until I go to Yarndale!


And, I’m not the only one who is excited!


I was gutted that I couldn’t get to Yarndale – a “creative festival celebrating all things woolly and wonderful” – last year, so was overjoyed when my Crafting Guru, Claire from BTHQ, arranged a road trip for this year’s event. A whole, long weekend away with follow (somewhat crazy!) crafty folk from BTHQ, surrounded by yarny loveliness…bliss!

To ensure a truly pleasurable weekend, I have come up with a plan to guarantee some guilt free shopping – oh, yes, there will be shopping! I have decided to try and save up some pennies between now and then.  However, I am rather pants at saving…so many pretties to buy *sigh*…so will need some help. I found a post earlier in the year via Pinterest and it was so simple that it has frequently popped to mind.  I am going to use the theory behind the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge to help me save, save, save so that I can spend, spend, SPEND!

I will write a separate blog about exactly how I plan to use this fabulous savings plan, however, in the mean time I will share a little crafty twist that I am adding to it.  Rather than keep a physical jar of pennies in the house to encourage and motivate me while saving, I found another fabulous idea over on Pinterest – Sea Pennies!


Inspired by this simple crochet pattern, my love of sea glass and the lovely Lucy of Attic24’s Coastal Blanket palette, I decided to finally use some of the gorgeous Rico Essentials Cottons that I bought at the Waltham Abbey Wool Show from ever colourful Janie Crow.


Obviously those three, beautiful balls of loveliness weren’t quite enough, so I had to purchase a few more…


I may also have even more gorgeous colours saved on my wish list over at Janie Crow’s but we won’t mention that!

I plan to crochet lots of Sea Pennies to represent the actual pennies I am saving in my online Nationwide Savings Account  between now and Yarndale and then join them all together on the train journey up there so that I can show both Janie, who is exhibiting, and Lucy who is one of the key organisers of Yarndale while I am there!

So…would you like to see one? I know you would!! Here you go!

Underwater penny

Isn’t it lovely? So simple yet so beautiful, so like the sea glass that inspired me!

Oh and guess what arrived, rather appropriately, today? Yup, my Yarndale Cotton Bag! Woo hoo!



Yesterday I had the pleasure, rather surprisingly, of attending my first and, obviously, last Speed Awareness course. Run by John and John from Essex County Council, it was held in the Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park.



I arrived suitably early (I can hear the roar of disbelieving laughter, but it is true!) and nervously headed into the waiting area. Who would be there? Would they be friendly? What would the course be like? So many things to worry about!  I need not have stressed! The waiting area was light, bright, had tea on tap and was filled by a mixed group of fairly friendly looking people. I can’t go into specifics due to confidentially (what happens in the Speed Awareness course, stays in the Speed Awareness course) but I can tell you that the room comprised of men and women of varying ages and backgrounds which just goes to show, there are no ‘typical’ naughty folk who speed!

We settled into the training room and, after a brief introduction, John kicked off with the first half of the training.  I always think it is a good sign when a training session feels more like a night out watching Live at the Apollojust without the alcohol, than anything else. John’s style of delivery ensured that our random group of people not only listened but actively engaged in the session which was fab as this was one of the strict criteria detailed in the conditions of the course offer.

Clearly Essex County Council have a great training for trainers programme as, John’s session is only pipped to the ‘Best Training Session Ever’ title by the fabulous Talk, Listen, Cuddle course I attended run by Sian Ansell – she was fabulous and if you ever get a chance to attend a course she is running, grab it!

After our tea break, John stepped out and John took over with a different style of presentation, still friendly and approachable but slightly more serious. Given that the second half of the training included more emotionally charged content, I think it was a good choice.

So what did I learn? Lots! Here are my top five new things I’ve learnt *queue Top of the Pops count down music*

At Number 5… I wasn’t so surprised to learn that I had very little idea of the various speed limits on different  roads and for different vehicles but I was surprised to learn that I thought they were much lower than they actually are.  Although this is good because it means I have been driving well below the speed limit on many roads, it also means that I could have caused an accident as I was not acting as other drivers would expect me to.

At Number 4… I was shocked to learn that 60% of fatalities in crashes happen in rural areas. My initial assumption, before the course, would have been that most crashes happen on motorways and that most fatalities are on motorway’s too. However, most crashes happen in built up areas, with fatalities of 36%. Motorway only account for 4% of all crash fatalities.

At Number 3… The latest edition of the Highway Code has 40 new rules and 5 new signs!

At Number 2… I learnt that all those pesky motorbikes who weave in and out of the traffic are NOT breaking the laws of the Highway Code after all! If you don’t believe me, you will find the relevant bit in Rules for Motorcyclists, section 88.

And coming in at Number 1… The whole “10% plus 2-ish” rule when it comes to being booked for speeding is a total MYTH! You can get booked for speeding if you are doing 1 mile above the limit.  The “ish” rule, as John called it, is purely for guidance given by the Association of Chief Police Officers and it is at the Police Officer’s discretion as to whether or not to follow it!

So, what can I do with all my newly acquired knowledge and understanding of speed limits and driving safely? Well, I am going to COAST! Don’t panic though, I shan’t be blithely driving around without a care in the world! What does COAST stand for?






What I think is interesting is that not only can I apply COAST to my driving technique but I think it will prove to be quite useful to apply it to my life in general!!




Last weekend was positively overflowing with creativity!

I spent a fabulous day at BTHQ on Saturday making a rather, if I do say do myself, lush roman blind. The day was filled, as ever, with Claire’s professional yet relaxed teaching and some excellent company from some fellow Beautiful Things regulars.

My Blind

Then, on Sunday, I had the immense pleasure of joining Claire and her lovely Mother in Law, Christine, on a road trip (well, technically, a train trip) up to that, there, big London to attend the School for Creative StartupsMakegood Festival. What a treat!

I had seen the event advertised but as I don’t have a product or, still, a clear idea/plan for my blog, I hadn’t considered that I might find it a) useful at this time and b) interesting. Well! Thank goodness my Crafting Guru, Claire, messaged me after reading my guest post on The Sewing Directory and suggested I join them as “it would be good for you and your blog!”

Makegood sign & me!

So, with my newly made top (aka tried to make one top, turned into something else entirely, still needs some adjustments!) and even newer BTHQ fan brooch I headed out early Sunday morning for a day of creative fun.  What we encountered was AMAZING!

Makegood memories

My favourite makegood companies…oh and a little bit of Liberty too!

Based in the Old Selfridges Hotel, the festival was bursting with creative people who were buzzing with enthusiasm, excitement and the abundant promise of what was to come! We stopped and talked to lots of people, some who had launched, some who where launching that weekend and some who were due to launch later in the year.  I loved meeting the individuals who created the products and learning the story behind their creative businesses.

Crafting Guru about to meet one of her Crafting Heroes, Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons

Three crazy ladies in The Vintage Photobooth Company’s fabulous booth!

Tasting Sweet Victory’s yummy cakes made with her historically inspired baking kits

I was SO happy to finally meet the lovely Inma from The Old School Club

Nancy Nicholson

Nancy Nicholson

Amongst the many people I spoke to, I had a fabulous chat with Nancy Nicholson who designs and creates some beautiful embroidery kits. I am looking forward to having some thread-tastic fun with the kits I bought (yes, yes, I know I bought them for D but I know she will be happy to share!) and have promised my Crafting Guru/Motivational Mentor that I will write a blog all about it!

The whole experience has left me feeling motivated, inspired and excited about the future for More Miriam, so watch this space!