A CORNUCOPIA OF CREATIVITY!

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!

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GUEST BLOG…NUMBER 3!

I am SO very proud to be featured on The Sewing Directory today!

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I was extremely surprised and pleased and terrified when the lovely Fiona chose my project to be one of two she would use to showcase the glorious Oakshott fabric.

I really hope you enjoy reading the tutorial and, hopefully making, my striped tie. If you do, make sure to comment and post photos – I’d love to see them.

To see the tutorial, click HERE

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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CORNWALL IS NOT CLOSED!

We are just over halfway through our annual  pilgrimage to our heavenly home from home – Penventinue Manor Farm, Fowey – and I feel like shouting to the world…well, the rest of the UK…”Cornwall is NOT closed!”

open

We have all seen the dramatic footage over the last few months of this beautiful part of the country being literally ripped apart by the storms. However, what hasn’t been covered as much by the media is the sheer force of determination of the Cornish people to repair and renew their damaged properties and businesses in time for the new season.

Just walking through town which, according to locals, “was not badly hit” compared to other areas, you can see the last bits of reparation being completed, lots of freshly painted white buildings and newly planted window boxes adding bright splashes of Spring colour. The many businesses, whether branches of larger chains like Joules, Seasalt and Boots or smaller independent businesses like Quay Bakery Ltd, Mrs Noahs Gifts, Bookends of Fowey  and The Lifebuoy Cafe have all burst into bloom, like the famous  Cornish hedges surrounding the town, and the welcome is as warm as ever.

So, please support Cornwall and the many other areas of the country hit by the storms by not assuming they are all washed out and come and visit! If you are worried, contact your chosen destination to check they are open, don’t just assume they are not. And if you can’t visit in person, try to support the many small businesses that sell on-line. Here are just a few of my personal favourites: Cornishbirdinthesticks, Lou Tonkin, Welbeck Tiles.

Let’s show these fabulous people that their determination, dedication and sheer hard work has been worth it, Cornwall is OPEN!!

Sun

WHAT A DAY!

Yesterday, despite the grotty weather, started off on a high for me – I could eat again! I had just completed my first three day cleanse with Squeeze, which you will be able to read more about soon, and I felt fab! Instead of sitting on the edge of my bed feeling like an ancient, creaky, achy woman, I felt renewed, refreshed and relaxed.
I started the day with a hot water and lemon and a bowl of sliced banana with blueberries in one of my lovely, new Jamie at Home Rimple bowls. I just love the way it sits in my hand – not too heavy, not too big and the little ripples ensure the perfect grip. I know…it’s a bowl! However, it makes me happy.

Breakfast Love

After dropping the children off at school, I skipped off to town to do a few errands and while wandering around the Co-op in a blissful state, I heard the assistant request the owner of the car with my licence plate number to go to the help desk. On the negative side, a mature lady and her companion had shown that there are lots of horrible people in the world. On the positive side, two young girls had shown that there are still good people in the world.

So, what had happened? The two girls had heard a loud bang as they were getting into their car and turned to see that a car had reversed into my little purple car. The passenger, the afore mentioned mature lady, got out and inspected the damage and then promptly got back into the car and drove off! My poor Johnny Cab!

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

Needless to say, my lovely day went down hill rather fast. To add to it all, I only had twenty four hours to physically go into a police station to report the incident and to make an official statement. So, thanks to the Wickford Police Station being no more, I headed off to Billericay – in a hail storm – to be greeted by an initially very frosty lady on the desk who managed to make me feel like a criminal despite being the victim.

For your information, when reporting a similar crime, you will need to take both parts of your driving licence, your MOT certificate and your insurance documents. It really helps if you know this before travelling to the next town but worry not, if you don’t know or forget then the frosty lady will smile while she gives you a ticket requiring you to present said documents within seven days!

While the frosty lady was filling in the form, I looked out the window and my spirits lifted a little as I spied Cook! I promised myself that if I got out of the police station in time, I would pop in. I love Cook – such a brilliant concept.

So, it was with a renewed bounce that I left Billericay Police Station with a ticket in my pocket and my taste buds tingling with anticipation of the delights I was sure to find in store. I was met by a lovely lady (hooray, faith in humanity restored again) who welcomed me to the store, checked if I needed any help, told me about their Valentine’s offer and offered me a taster that sounded yummy but unfortunately had prawns in, so I couldn’t partake (fear not fellow veggies, they have a great range of vegetarian meals).

Fifteen minutes later I left with a bag full of yummy, yet slightly restrained delights for Mr F and I to enjoy for Valentine’s Dinner (my Squeeze cleanse was still at the front of my mind!) along with a some tasty treats for my lunches next week.

Cook bag stuffed full Cook Valentines Dinner Cook lunches

To add to my joy, the sun came out!

Sunshine at last

I nipped home to put my Cook goodies in the freezer and then rushed to my daughter’s school to fulfil my PTA duties and help supervise film night. I had good company during the film, Despicable Me 2, and it was really lovely at the end when lots of the littlies got up and boogied to Happy. I know it is a bit of a love it or hate it song, but I am definitely in the love camp! So, for your enjoyment, here it is

My day was nearly over but I had one last thing to do – a mission in the name of LOVE! Many of you have read about Mr F, my other half, but what you may not know is that I have a Craft-wife-to-be as well! As a symbol of my love and dedication to her and the craft, I tiptoed out in the cold and the dark to put up the latest mini yarn bomb in our street!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 1

It doesn’t look that fab in the dark, so will try and get some photos of it in the sunshine. However, as an added treat for my love, I have added a bit of magic!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 2

My day was finally over!

– UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE –

My wonderful Craft-wife-to-be has not only taken a photo in day light of my gift to her but she has returned the favour and added her own to it – isn’t it beautiful?!

Love

WE WISH YOU A…COMPOSTABLE CHRISTMAS!

I had the pleasure of visiting RHS Hyde Hall not once but twice this week! Both visits were arranged to catch up with good friends, one who I haven’t seen for too long and one who I just can’t get rid of…only joking…who I see on a more regular basis but with our children in tow, so conversation is somewhat stilted.

I must confess that the second visit was spent entirely in the Field Café catching up with my friend over a cup of their lovely broccoli and stilton soup with one of their super yummy cheese scones. However, on the first visit of the week we popped out to have a look at the RHS Hyde Hall WI Christmas Trees which were fabulous!

Festive Feast of Furs

Festive Feast of Furs

RHS Hyde Hall had invited the ladies of the  Essex WI to decorate a Christmas Tree with the only requirement, this year, being all the materials to be ‘compostable’. All decorations had to be made of natural materials which could be spray painted to add interest and colour. The ladies really stepped up to the challenge and used reeds and grasses, nuts, teasels, poppy and other seed heads, fruits, paper and many more lovely, natural items.

I may have been a little inspired by the lovely trees and taken one or..er..two photos to share with you! My favourites include the little candles made of spray painted clementine skin with a twig and some string for the candle; the Sycamore seeds with rose hips; the wooden spoon angels; and the poppy seed head, conker and chilli tinsel!

Best in Show

Christmas candle Conkers and acorns  Poppy chilli conker tinsle Blue tree Kashew tinsel Monkey nut tinsel Orange peel spiralAcorn cups orange peel tinsel Orange tree Painted beans Paper cup bells Physalis aka Chinese Lantern Popcorn cranberry orange and lime tree Pumpkin seeds Red and white angel tree Red tree Spoon angel Spray painted beans Sweet potato tinsle Sycamore and rose hip holly

I hope you have enjoyed this whistle stop tour around the lovely WI Christmas Trees at Hyde Hall – do try and get along to see them in person!

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