Sunday, 9 December 2012

Back to front weekends

We've had a back to front weekend this weekend. Saturday was our family day as I have spent this afternoon running a children's birthday party. (Sometimes they don't feel like work at all when you have a lovely host parent and a great group of girls).

After some jobs time in the morning we grabbed a chance to get out in the sunshine and headed down to Hove Lagoon for a walk along the seafront. It was the middle of the afternoon and the sun was at a lovely stage bringing all of the beach huts to life. I rarely take pictures of them, you see this style of photo so much locally that it almost seems over used. Yesterday though  I decided the light was making them more spectacular than normal.

It was a real joy to walk along the promenade. 

Then, as if the colour of the beach huts wasn't enough we came upon this bench, decorated with such love and care. The bench was a memorial to Felix White, clearly much loved and much missed. It got me thinking about how lucky I am, things like this always make me catch my breath. It also got me thinking about how someone else's love and care would make so many other people stop and reflect and smile, just like it had me. What a lovely thing this person has done.

It was a wonderful afternoon; a good stroll and a lovely chat as we went on our way. The only interruption was a stop at a great little cafe called Morocco's where they serve a delicious hot chocolate. 

Strolling on, hot chocolate in hand, I really couldn't think of a better place to be.


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A month in pictures

I'm realising that I have done what I really hate when I follow other blogs... I disappeared for a month!

I didn't mean to at all but things have just got really busy and my evenings quite hectic and before you know it one week has moved into the next and that item is still on the to do list and no closer to the top. So I am going to see if I can give you a whistle stop tour of November and hopefully I'll have enough photos to help get you up to speed.

First things first that ukelele cover... I finished it! In any normal blogging period there would have been a ta da post but alas. So here are the photos of the item all finished.

It has a carry handle on the side, just like the one I made last year for Cait.

But Niamhy requested that it also have a body strap so that she can carry it and still scooter to school!

So there we have it one very happy little girl. Actually one very happy and incredibly patient little girl as this was cut out and sitting in my 'to do' pile for a good few weeks!

It was a busy month on the teaching side with a variety of workshops and one to one tuition taking place.

Lots of festive makes - stockings and bunting. This stocking was just charming and had a little label on it saying 'mum' which just finished it off. 

On the work front I also had the very exciting news that I will be running demo's and workshops from Hobbycraft in Crawley starting in January 2013. I'll be using this lovely space and am currently working on the workshop plans at the moment. I will be letting everyone know by email and facebook when it's all live and you are able to book. It's a lovely airy open space that I will be using and I can't wait.

We also had a birthday in the household and for the first time ever I didn't hand make all the decorations. You'll see from previous posts that the birthday decorations are quite a tradition in our house and I love the challenge of trying to come up with something new each time. Some times the ideas have come to me months in advance and whilst they are always a last minute make I get plenty of time to pull all the necessary bits together. Other times inspiration strikes on the 11th hour. Thats part of the fun of it really. This time round I had to concede defeat and, rather than stress myself and stretch myself too thin, accept that some shop bought support may not be a bad thing in the big scheme of things. Luckily I found a fab supply of honeycomb paper baubles of all different sizes and colours and they looked rather charming. I then had time left to make a lovely brownie loaf and make sure that everything else was ready for a birthday sleepover. 

One of my resolutions for the new year is definitely to charge myself with  a little more forward planning. I have to get better at it as my business head needs it more than ever. There are few people to remind me now when an advertising deadline is looming or editorial is needed for a column I write.

One last thing on the work front.... my after school club at the local junior school. I have such a very lovely group. They are 7-11 year olds and are great company. We have our little routines and they are no doubt bored of me telling them they must thread their needle and tie their knot but I really enjoy the time. They all come up with great designs on the projects and their enthusiasm can be my greatest challenge at times. They are always so very very keen to get on and see what the next project is. Anyway these are some of the notebooks that we made during November before we started to think about Christmas.

Which leads me nicely on to Light Up Hassocks which was Friday last week. Such a truly lovely event and I felt so very proud to be part of the village and very thankful to Michelle and her team for putting together such a great event. There are lots and lots of people as always that make these events come to life and the procession of light that walked through the main street looked just fabulous. I had a stall at the infant school again this year with some of my handmade goodie and details about all the workshops etc. As the school is undergoing some building works everything was in the front playground and whilst it was a little nippy at times it was so nice to hear the various choirs that were singing and to see the hustle and bustle of it all. Anyway, who needs to worry about the cold when you are a only a few metres away from a mulled wine stall! I'd forgotten my camera unfortunately, although I'm not overly sure how well they might have come out in the dark but tit was a great night and if you are local and have never been do make a date for it next year. 

So, without wishing to wibble on, that's a snap shot of my November. All of this only touches the surface really as it has been so so busy, oh and I've not even mentioned the evening classes! So..... as I love, and need, to be able to update my stationary and branding from time to time, create new posters and leaflets  to promote the business, I took the opportunity to take an evening class for 6 weeks and improve my skills on the necessary computer package. I couldn't have even attempted to fit these classes in without the wonderful support of Mr B, my folks and my friends who have all been helping me ensure that I can be in Brighton for 6-9pm every Monday. It's a little difficult to really explain all of the good things that I have learnt but the graphic below was one evenings project and one which I am really proud of. It highlights just how useful all this will be moving forward.

I've been thinking of revamping my sewing party invites but then every time that I look at them I think they look fab so maybe, for the time being, I'll leave them be.

Well that really is me done. It's a long post and it's now rather late at night and I have other places I should be.

Promise not to be away for so long next time!


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween - spot the difference!

I was told off by Niamhy for just doing spots so had to make the other side scarey!


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Good Days

Well it seems that I am forever apologising at the moment for not posting regularly enough about what is going on. All I will say is that the ukulele cover is still not finished!

Meanwhile though today has been a huge success. Made by Me ran a taster session this afternoon where you could come along and see what we were all about. There were 5 sewing projects and china decoration to do so not chance at all to be bored.

The Guide Hall was all set up with plenty of things to inspire including a rather charming twig stolen from the kitchen at home decorated with mini bunting (one of the projects which proved quite popular today) and these charming little chubby robins.

The infamous spotty cases of goodies; trims, buttons, threads etc were out as were my favourite ric rac spools

No afternoon of crafting is really complete without a cuppa and cake so we ensured that there was a well stocked tea stall. It was wonderfully manned by Cait and her friend Rosie. All afternoon they looked after us making sure that everyone had a drink and we raised some funds for Light Up Hassocks along the way.

As soon as 2pm struck the door was open and people started coming in and it wasn't long before people settled down to craft and chatter.

Elaines table was full to capacity almost straight away but there was chance later for Jordan and Luke to join her and have a go too. Having mastered making aprons form pillowcases they were both happy to have a got at lots more. Well done boys- for first time users of sewing machines you were both excellent.

At the sewing table the suffolk puff corsages proved the most popular and there were some really great creations.

Being a tad chilly and damp outside perhaps it was no surprise that it seemed people chose the warmer winter fabrics with lots of tweeds and wools used.

The second most popular sewing project was the pillowcase apron. As I mentioned earlier, Luke and Jordan both had a go but so did many others. Not all of my photos have come out that well but this piccie has thankfully. A great one completed by Mary.

... and another by Teresa.

 Elaines china table was much in demand and some of the talent was just amazing. These are just some of the wonderful creations... proof maybe that everyone really can achieve something wonderful whether you consider yourself artistic or not.

I can't mention the day without thanking my wonderful mum who travelled down to help and without her the sewing table would have been organised chaos. The response had been great and there was no way that I could have helped everyone on my own.

I should probably also mention my wonderful Mr B who had prepared and cooked dinner ready just minutes after I got home from packing up, despite the fact that he was out with lads and not eating at home tonight. Thank you Mr B.

When Elaine and I first mentioned running this afternoon I only hoped that people would come and enjoy themselves. That they would get lost in an afternoon of sewing or china, forget about worries and  chatter away. To see it all come to life just like that this afternoon was really lovely. I am so very pleased and Elaine and I have great plans for a similar event in the Spring.... but maybe we can make a day of it with some crusty rolls and some soup! (if you want to ensure that you hear about it pop to Made and Making and join the mailing list!)


Sunday, 14 October 2012

It's true what they say.....

... about running your own business - you may never have worked so hard. Time just seems to be flying by at the moment where I am so busy. If I am not teaching, then I'm making and if I'm not making then I am preparing the next lessons, bits for the website or the next important step for the business. But it is all great fun and I am not complaining at all.

Anyway this last week has been extra busy as I have had to make extra time to welcome a new addition to our family. Meet Maebh, pronounced Mayvie.

Just before we went on holiday our lovely cat Caoimhe (keeva) went missing. She was last seen on the  Friday morning and we left on the Saturday leaving Mr B's parents here cat sitting a cat that was missing. We are hoping that she did return and just didn't fancy the new arrangements. Hopefully she has found a lovely new home, we've certainly done lots to try and find her if she wanted to come back. It's been very sad for all of us though as we had got quite use to having a small furry member of the family. After 7 weeks had passed we decided that any likelihood of a return was perhaps past and went in search of a new addition.

So Maebh came from the same home and was born on nearly the same day as Caoimhe, only one year later. She's a very very friendly cat, snuggling with anyone who arrives at the house and just loves company. Following me around like a shadow when I am at home and calling out if you leave the room and she hadn't noticed. It's so nice to have a pet around again and she is ever so playful. Our house feels like a home again. 

Being so busy recently, it dawned on me the other day that maybe I had not been very creative recently. Most sewing projects are more work based and I've been struggling to find a balance in the evenings when I might otherwise have sewn. I now feel compelled to continue down my to do list. If anyone has any tips on how to manage this they would be most welcome. When Mr B was off cycling my late nights were totally work based, a year ago I would have been happily crafting all sorts. I have however put together a few birthday cards this last month and I have a new Ukulele case in the offing as Niamhy is now learning it at school and will soon be able to take her own in to use. It's a work in progress but I am determined to finish it this week as it really shouldn't take too long. (I wonder.... will that happen?!)

Lots of things catch my eye to inspire me though and none more so than a tin of beads or buttons. So I'm going to share a piccie that I took last weekend. It's the way that the colours fall together that I love and it get s the brain thinking in a whole new way. I'm still in my huge felt mode and I can feel some new little decorations being created this week to hang on my infamous twigs.

 For a calming thought I shall leave you with these pics taken earlier today.

Last night we had some dear friends come over for dinner and they brought with them a charming bouquet of flowers. For someone that loves so much that is bright and colourful i do adore a simple green and white arrangement and these look so charming on the end of the kitchen table. It's been beautiful outside and we've had a wonderful stroll by the sea down at Ferring. The flowers on the table just add a spring to your step.


Sunday, 30 September 2012

A relaxing weekend....

With Mr B away again this weekend it's been a girlie weekend. We've missed him but we have indulged ourselves in all things creative.

We had a lovely day out together yesterday visiting one of my favourite craft shops down in Chichester who were having a 'felt day'. I adore felt. It is such a wonderful textile to work with and it's obvious simplicity often misleads people into understanding it's true potential. It's been a great joy to spend more time working with it recently as it's forms the back bone at the moment for sewing tasks with some of my after school sessions. It's just perfect whilst we master excellent hand sewing skills.

There were  a variety of 'make and take' projects and Niamhy had a go with a whizzy new gadget that helps you make felt balls. It is called  Futte Futte which, translated means Shake it Shake it and it really is as easy as that! We've come home with a large red ball, about the size of an egg. Not sure what's it is going to become yet. If you fancy buying one click here to visit The Eternal Makers on line shop.

All three of us then had a go at using a die cutting machine to make circles which was wonderfully therapeutic. I have been looking at such machines on and off for the last few months. So many projects require circles of fabric, and with more and more cutting out required for the classes and parties that I am running, I was beginning to contemplate the investment. They are not cheap machines afterall. With a huge felt scrap basket to delve into it was great fun and made even more so by the distinct lack of what I would consider my usual colours. I love it when I am forced to think outside of my usual processes and we have come home with some wonderful 'dotty' felt bunting. 

We followed up our creative adventures with a trip into town and a visit to a tea room. Then just a few moments to have a little mooch around the shops before they were all shutting their doors and we needed to head home too.

Today has been just as lovely but we haven't been anywhere. After a few jobs this morning it was time for us all to gather round the kitchen table for some crafting and creative work. There was creative homework to be addressed and Niamhy decided that she wanted to make a pencil case. Sewing machine out and a little reminder of how it all works.....

... before a little more stitching with some guidance from me created her ta da moment!

One pencil case complete with teddy ribbon tag and two hello kitty buttons. What more does one little 6 year old girl need?!

(My one footnote to all this is that we did have to move to my machine to do the zip as the small red John Lewis one picture above does not have a zipper foot attachment - I wouldn't want anyone misled)


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hassock Artists Christmas 2012

Hot of the press is the poster advertising this years Christmas Event.

I'll tell you a bit more about nearer the time but Elaine Baker and I will both be exhibiting so put the date in your diary now.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tracey English Giveaway

So the weekend was a little dull and dreary on Sunday. Perfect for hibernating, and yes we did light our first fire of the Autumn. It's always an exciting moment and there's nothing like snuggling down with it.

I sneaked a moment or two to catch up on a couple of blogs and found myself on one of my little blog journeys, following links and discovering new pages. In the process I stumbled upon Tracey English.

If you take a look you will see that she does some really wonderful and colourful work and, even better, currently has a give away going on for some of her cards. I can think of a number of people who would appreciate them and I am sure you could too so pop over and take part. Here are just a couple as a teaser.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

A colourful stash

After pondering the wonders of colour only last night I felt like I had found gold when I stumbled upon this little, or rather large, stash of threads in our local antiquey market. So many colours and shades, just perfect for all the little bitty projects that I do and teach.

Seeing how the colours work with each other gets my mind buzzing with what I could see.

Will have to wait though as I have promised Niamhy a trip to the library followed by a treasure hunt.


Friday, 14 September 2012

The colour of life

I recently treated myself to a set of drawers to house my sewing bits. I was struggling to find everything in my old wicker sewing box and felt the time had come for a shape up. I stumbled upon these and fell in love with them as I could see that everything would finally fit into one place. They look charming sat on the cupboard and fit in perfectly with the shaker sewing box on top. This belonged to my late grandmother, who I loved dearly, and I cherish it immensely. I love the fact that my sewing endeavours now are often made using the same needles (though different threads) that she would have used.

It was only as I pulled out a drawer or two to make for a more interesting photo that I noticed something that rather surprised me...... the colours of the threads in the bottom drawer.

From quite a young age I have generally drawn to most things red. As an 8 year old I had a very red and white striped bedroom but make it red and spotty and I'm in heaven.

So it was all rather surprising for me to find so many threads that were cooler colours; greens blues and pinks. Mind, red and green is my favourite colour combination so maybe it's only half a surprise.

This rather got me thinking and I've spent a little time this evening using google to understand what a colour may say about a personality. I found a very informative site and have taken the following from it.

Before you read on though take a moment to think about what your favourite colour is .... 

White: Symbolic of purity, innocence and naivete, white has strong connotations of youth and purity. If you are an older person, your preference for white could indicate a desire for perfection and impossible ideals, maybe an attempt to recapture lost youth and freshness. It may also symbolize a desire for simplicity or the simple life.
Red: The color of strength, health, and vitality, Red is often the color chosen by someone outgoing, aggressive, vigorous and impulsive—or someone who would like to be! It goes with an ambitious nature but those who choose it can be abrupt at times, determined to get all they can out of life, quick to judge people and take sides. Red people are usually optimistic and can’t stand monotony; they are rather restless and not at all introspective, so they may be unaware of their own shortcomings. They find it hard to be objective and may blame others for any mishaps. Quiet people with a preference for red may feel the need for the warmth, strength and life-giving qualities of the color, or they blanket their true feelings under a sober exterior. Red is usually chosen by people with open and uncomplicated natures, with a zest for life.
Maroon: Harsh experience has probably matured the Maroon person into someone likable and generous. It is often a favorite color of someone who has been battered by life but has come through. It indicates a well-disciplined Red personality—one who has had difficult experiences and has not come through unmarked but who has grown and matured in the process.

Pink: This color embodies the gentler qualities of Red, symbolizing love and affection without passion. Women who prefer Pink tend to be maternal. Pink desires protection, special treatment and a sheltered life. Pink people require affection and like to feel loved and secure, perhaps wanting to appear delicate and fragile. Pink people tend to be charming and gentle, if a trifle indefinite.
Orange: This color of luxury and pleasure appeals to the flamboyant and fun-loving person who likes a lively social round. Orange people may be inclined to dramatize a bit, and people notice them, but they are generally good-natured and popular. They can be a little fickle and vacillating, but on the whole they try hard to be agreeable. Orange is the color of youth, strength, fearlessness, curiosity and restlessness.
Yellow: The color of happiness, wisdom and imagination, Yellow is chosen by the mentally adventurous, searching for novelty and self-fulfillment. Yellow usually goes with a sunny and shrewd personality, with a good business head and a strong sense of humor. It is the color of intellectuality and all things to do with the mind. Yellow folks are usually clear and precise thinkers who have a good opinion of their own mental capacities and who have lofty ideals. They may at times tend to shun responsibility, preferring freedom of thought and action.
Green: The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient, so they may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized and reputable.
 Blue: Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring, Blue is the color of deliberation and introspection, conservatism and duty. Patient, persevering, conscientious, sensitive and self-controlled, Blues like to be admired for their steady character and wisdom. They are faithful, but are often worriers with somewhat inflexible beliefs and can be too cautious, and suspicious of flamboyant behavior.
Blue-Green: Exacting, discriminating, poised and attractive, the Blue-Green person tends to be sensitive, intellectual and refined, persevering and stable if rather detached. Blue-Greens have excellent taste, and are usually courteous and charming, capable but often refusing help or guidance.
Turquoise: Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise people drive themselves hard and may be in a state of turmoil under their outwardly cool exterior.
Lavender: This is often chosen by a person who lives “on a higher plane,” who never notices anything sordid and who is always impeccably and beautifully dressed. Lavender people may be on a continual quest for culture and the refined things of life, high and noble causes but without the necessity of getting their hands dirty. A Lavender person is usually creative, charming, witty and civilized.
Purple: Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and sensitive, with a strong desire to be unique and different. Temperamental, expansive and artistic, a Purple person may become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood. If you chose Purple, you tend to be unconventional, tolerant and dignified, likely to achieve positions of authority.
Brown: A Brown person has stamina and patience, tending to be very solid and substantial, conscientious, dependable, steady and conservative. Browns are not impulsive, and may be inarticulate and tactless but they love responsibility and are reliable and kindly. If you chose Brown, watch out for a tendency to be obstinate and inflexible.
Gray: The color of caution and compromise, diligent Grays search for composure and peace and often work hard without reward. Older Grays like life to run on an even keel with few ups and downs. Young Grays may be withdrawing from life and suppressing their personalities. Grays often have good business ability and tend to work too much.
Black: Dignified and impressive without being showy, Black people want to give the appearance of mystery, but their preference may also indicate a suppression of desires and worldly aims, suggesting hidden depths and inner longings.
Adapted from The Healing Power of Color by Betty Wood (Inner Traditions, 1998).

 Do you think it is mumbo jumbo or perhaps a little bit true?

One last image to leave you with that has nothing to do with colour.

A couple of charming wooden rulers. Bought at Sussex Country Brocante for 50p they evoke so many  childhood memories and have so much charm I just couldn't resist them.


Monday, 10 September 2012


Every year the Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft show comes to Brighton and I always go. This year it visited in May, instead of February, and it clashed with our trip to Brugges. Now, Brugges was lovely but it did mean that I missed my bargains and there was no chance to gain inspiration from some of the lovely creations on display. 

With Mr B off cycling the length of the country life could be dull. But then there's my mum. She bought tickets for her and I to visit the Prima Homemade - Creative Stitches and Hobbycraft show at Bluewater in Kent. Yippee.... a lucky second chance and an opportunity to spend some one to one time with my mum.

After a good look round the retail stalls deciding what was worthy of me opening my purse (I knew I needed ribbons and felts) there was a chance to spend a little time looking at some of the creations on display. Oh my, there were some fantastic things to see.

Dartford Grammar School for girls had a display of some of their textile work which involved techniques such as nuno felting, freeform knitting, heat distortion, fabric distressing and manipulation. They really enjoy the subject and spending lots of study time in and outside of the classroom and even have school trip to Paris, Shanghai and Bejing. How jealous!

Can you see just how many everyday objects are included within this section of top?

And what about this for a cape?

But then came the knitted garden. It was so wonderful and I know these pics won't do it justice. There was so much attention to detail.

Even the garden shed was knitted

I loved all the little vegetables....

... and the bottle of pop covered in bubble wrap to make it look fizzy. Can you see the strawberries and cream?!

Of course no garden is complete without a gnome!

But I think my favourite thing may just have been the radio. Just look at that dial!

The whole thing was life size (I'm not sure if that comes across in the photos) and had been lovingly created by hundreds of children and adults visiting the ICHF shows over the previous year. Well done them. It looked fantastic.

And thank you mum - I had a lovely afternoon, and well done to dad too for looking after little Niamhy whilst we browsed.