GETTING MY ‘CHINELO BALLY’ ON!

Yesterday I decided to get my Chinelo Bally on and here is the result – ta dah!

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My lovely friend Nicky, of Shrinking Violet fame, kindly said I could have a go at making a dress for her and gave me one of her favourites to copy.

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As I was too nervous to unpick her dress incase I killed it, I decided to roughly cut around the outline of her dress and free hand (hence getting my Chinelo Bally on!) the darts, hems and seams.

Nicky was really flexible about fabric and colour but she did make one request, that I add some buttons to the back. I considered raiding my button stash but decided that I’d keep it simple and stylish, so covered three buttons in the same dress fabric and use a the same colour ribbon to create button loops.

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I’m quite pleased with the overall result and having just received a HUGE hug from Nicky, I think she is too!

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CROCHET & CHATTER WITH… IN2CRAFTING

Welcome to the first in series of interviews I will be doing with local businesses, independent crafters and people/organisations I find interesting and who I think you will love too. As the title suggests, I will also be including something crochet related too!

If you would like to have a little Crochet & Chatter with me, then message me and I will add you to my list of people to interview!

 

Wickford, where my home is, is very lucky to have an excellent craft shop – In2crafting. I spend a little…well, ok…a lot of time in there! Sometimes I’m only there for just for a couple of minutes as I rush in to grab an essential crafting item but more often than not, I have a leisurely browse of all the pretties and a chat with the friendly and welcoming staff. On a very rare occasion, you can even find me with my pal, Wendy, buttoning – a term we have come up with for the joy that is sorting through the pick and mix button section!

When and where did you set up in2crafting?

What started as a hobby some years ago has turned into a rapidly growing business for us. We started our craft shop in a garden centre in February 2005 with a view to supplying all sorts of craft, art and hobby materials to local residents. Réne also started card making workshops to teach card making to beginners and experienced crafters.

In May 2009 we changed our trading name to In2crafting and started to plan our website.

In August 2010 we moved to more convenient and larger premises in the Ladygate Centre, Wickford offering more space, choice and larger workshop facilities. Thanks to the great support of our customers locally and from far afield, the shop has grown in popularity as have the workshops.

What did you do before setting up In2crafting?

Before starting our business Réne worked in London for a violin dealer and John spent his career in sales training and sales management.

What kinds of items can we find in In2crafting?

Due to the comments of the majority of customers, the phrase “an Aladdin’s cave” has been adopted to describe the shop and it’s mass of contents. We have over 20,000 different products in store!

Some of the most popular items at the moment are die cutting/embossing products as well as stamps and inks.

What kind of workshops/demonstrations/offers do you run?

We run our own special offer promotions as well as those provided by major suppliers. In addition, extra savings can be made by joining our Privilege Card Scheme.

Apart from Réne, there are now other tutors providing fantastic inspiration to the classes. Michelle, and Carol, are our card making experts, Cherry who specialises in Parchment craft as well as Pen & Ink Drawing, Jane with paper crafting, Carol our resident Scrapbooking expert, and then there’s Yakoba with her Jewellery making classes.

Most weeks there are morning or afternoon workshops going on. All materials are provided and there are refreshments during the workshops, which can last between 2½ – 3 hours. It’s a great chance to share ideas with other like minded people. Customers are really pleased with what they have created in their workshop and often book way ahead to get in the next season of classes.

Another very popular event is our monthly free demonstration Saturdays. These feature great products from leading manufacturers and combined with special offers on the day. We continue to have some top class demonstrators coming to inspire and teach new and alternative techniques.  Customers love our workshops and demonstration days.

Thank you to Réne and John for taking the time have a chat with me.

I can highly recommend popping into In2crafting whether you are looking for a specific crafting item, a gift for a crafty or model making friend or to join one of their excellent workshops or free demonstrations.

 

So, we’ve had our chat, now for some crochet! There is no question about what I should show you in the world of crochet today. The fabulous Lucy of attic24 has unveiled her Autumn Wreath and it is a complete delight! You can see what I mean here.

If you haven’t discovered the wonderful blog that Lucy writes and fills with glorious photos of her crochet, her home, her studio that she shares with her friend and fellow crafter Tracy of Patchwork Chickens  and the lovely countryside surrounding it, then I highly recommend you do – she lifts your soul!

I’ll finish this week’s Crochet & Chatter with a photo of my very own attic24 inspired crochet wreath.  The lovely Mr F bought me a voucher from Beautiful Things for my birthday earlier this year which I used to attend the a course run by my crafting guru Claire Mackaness and this beauty (if I do say so myself) is the fabulous result!

photo by Claire Mackaness

photo by Claire Mackaness

SHHHHH! DON’T TELL MY HUSBAND BUT…

Since becoming a ‘lady of leisure’ in September when my youngest went to school, I may have (very occasionally) found myself with a cuppa in front of the dreaded day time TV!

Now, I don’t go in for the Jeremy Kyle/Loose Women type of viewing but tend to stick with the good old BBC where I can find some easy viewing with an informative edge, think Homes Under the Hammer, Escape to the Country and Bargain Hunt.

Last week I found myself watching Flog It! If you haven’t yet experienced this programme, it is a little like the Antiques Roadshow but instead of the members of the public responding to the experts valuations of Granny’s antique brooch or Great Granddad’s collection of glass eyeballs with a “It will never be sold!” this show’s participants are refreshingly honest in their response of ‘I never liked it!’ and ‘Lovely, that’ll go towards our new extension!’ Another common response is ‘I’m getting on now, so need to have a clear out.’ This response keeps on popping back into my head; it really made me pause for thought. 

We seem to spend our working lives trying to accumulate ‘things’ – things for the house, things for the family, things just because, things.  We surround ourselves with belongings that are both necessary for everyday life and those which are not necessary but help us to be taken back to a happy occasion,   to think of loved ones or to bring a sense of joy with just a glance around a room – a shell from that fabulous beach holiday, a family photo in a lovingly decorated frame, a collection of jars filled with buttons!

Family Photo  Pebble Photo

Button Photo

However, it seems that in the autumn of our days, all these things become somewhat of a burden – if not to their owner then to the family and friends left behind when a person has passed away.  I wonder, should we strive for so many things when in the end they are just given away? Isn’t this a huge waste of time, effort and, in these environmentally conscious days, precious resources? Or are the actions which result in the accumulation of things – interacting with others, enjoying time with family, relishing the beauty around us – the whole meaning and purpose of life itself?

I don’t know the answer.  What I do know is, regardless of the ribbing I get from Mr F, I will continue to watch the odd bit of day time TV because, it really does make you think!