Friday, 25 May 2012

How time flies

The last three weeks have been so hectic getting lots of things done that I felt a little ashamed when I realised today that I'd not been on the blog for so long. The funny thing is, or the frustrating thing is, that I've been up to lots that might have made for an interesting post (and I've even been remembering to take some photos along the way!).

So I thought I could share with you brief insight into what has kept me so busy!

Firstly there was a really lovely trip to Brugge. Not Mr B and I on our own, but in the company of friends and it was most relaxing and enjoyable. We've been a couple of times before, and it was actually really nice to be somewhere abroad that it still very familiar. I could walk out the hotel and know exactly where to go as soon as we arrived. The chocolate helped too! 

The weather was kind, no rain and a little sunshine though it seems the one photo I took of the architecture is a trifle grey!

We had a lovely day on the Saturday just snooping around and I found a couple of shops that were wonderful to browse in.

We also saw the wall of Beer, Brugge is of course home to Moules, Frites and Beer. I saw this on the wall and thought that it was fab. The word beer could of course be substituted with a variety of other things!

And  I thought these fridge magnets were great. Not only do they capture the architecture of the place but also the vibrancy of colour that you saw in all the shops. I don't tend to think of us as a boring nation at all but I was really quite surprised at how much more colourful all their shops were. 

Shoe shops had shoes laid out by colour - and they had every colour with a variety of styles. Clothes shops seemed to have more colour too.

So Brugge was lovely and it also celebrated the moment that my website went live - I finally published it the night before we went. It was a big job teaching myself how to do it all and quite intense. I spent far too much time attached to the computer when I would rather have been attached to my sewing machine. Thus, for me, our trip away was perfect time to recharge.

I'll be honest and say that  I am really proud of it. It is still work in progress as I do want to get some more imagery on it but I think it looks good, it reflects what I am about and what I am trying to achieve and I have had some lovely feedback already. 

Thus it was straight back to promoting and advertising the website followed in a few days by the local school summer fair. I ran the bric a brac stall which is always good fun but my favourite stall of all is the sweet jar tomobola. On the day before the fair all the children get to wear their non-uniform clothes to school in return for bringing in a jar of sweets. I love sweets, proper sweets like Haribo, jellies, chews etc. I just thought that all the jars looked fantastic.

And then my head is tuning into the fact that Niamh is 6 in a weeks time. We've had to delay her party until towards the end of June so that her friends could make it so I'm not that late at getting the party invites sorted, really I'm not! These were made from some sheets of card that I bought in Brugge from a shop called Hema. How simple... just fold the card in half and, with a little typing on the computer, we were all sorted for pennies rather than pounds... and I think they look really sweet too. 

If you ever go Brugge way Hema was fantastic. A great find, it had lots of lovely goodies in it. When I get a moment over the weekend I'll capture a few more for you. It was a little like IKEA Market place, simple prices and good value. Wish they were in the UK.

So that is what I have been up, well the interesting bits anyway. I can't believe how busy I am getting things sorted ut it's exciting and I wouldn't change it for the world. Not everyone gets to follow their dreams.

Take care


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Made and Making part two! Made by Me and Making Home

After my recent post setting the scene for my new venture I have now settled on all the art work and am really excited about it so wanted I would share it here.

I have been working with a lovely lady called Mary, who is much more proficient with the various graphics packages than me. I gave her a mood book, which was rather like a mood board, so she could understand exactly what I was after. It was a 24 pocket display book and it was great fun filling it with images of all the things that I love, from colours and patterns to fonts and shapes!

Made by Me are the craft workshops that will run in Hassocks and I wanted something simple and eye catching that would provide a sense of creativity. I also wanted it to try and convey the warm and relaxed environment that we will be providing. 

Making Home is the bespoke soft furnishings side and I wanted there to be a consistent style across the two so that I could capture an overall look for the Made and Making. I liked the idea of applying the same style to an image of a house and then introducing a third colour. Green was an obvious choice for me! Again I wanted it to represent to warmth and friendliness, to create an overall feeling of reliability. I think that is a key quality.

These two image were the first steps and the final one was to try to bring the two together. I had a clear vision in my head of how I wanted that to look and Mary then played with various ribbon and trimmings images to create the following.

I am so pleased.

There is still plenty more to do as the website should be live over the next day or two but I really wanted to share these images.


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Banishing Bank Holiday Blues!

Well what a rather damp weekend that was! We had been due to have a number of friends over for a BBQ on Saturday but postponed Friday when we saw the weather. I'm thankful that we did and we had a rather relaxing Saturday as a result but with an awful lot of food to eat!

Still, Sunday saw a visit to the Dome in Brighton to see a children's show put on by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. If you've got children I just know that you will have heard of Julia but can you place Lydia? She has illustrated some of our favourite children's books so it was going to be a treat for Niamh and myself!

This last one has to be one of our top 5 books. It is a book the Lydia wrote with another great writer, Carol Ann Duffy.

The show was an absolute treat. Julia and a number of her friends and family brought the books to life and Lydia sat at the side and, with the aid of a projector, drew illustrations throughout the show. It was totally mesmerising watching her pictures take shape. I'm so jealous of someone who can draw with such ease and create such wonderful pictures. 

Two of Niamhs school friends also went so we stopped at the bar in the Dome afterwards for a drink and a piece of cake. The chocolate cake that day was just delicious, the lightest sponge you've ever tasted. It melted on the tongue. Whilst enjoying this treat; the tea, the cake, the chance to have a relaxed chat on a Sunday morning I glanced up. What should I see?

Don't they just look fantastic. It added a real charm to the bar area and I presume is all part of the activities for the Brighton Festival which is currently on.

So I had already had a lovely morning - seen a great show, had tea and cake, seen  a wonderful sight.... could there be more? Yes!

The show had been promoting their new joint book, the Singing Mermaid. I had already promised Niamh a copy and when we purchased it we realised the the queue for the book signing with Julia and Lydia had shortened quite considerably. Always one to thank people I decided that we should join it and we did. About 30 minutes later Niamh had her own very special copy and we'd had chance to say how much we enjoyed their work.

But it was one of those days when lots of nice things seem to happen and we then got stopped. We were  passed the drawing below, the assistant telling us that we had won it! It was a drawing that she had done during the show when Julia was telling us all about her book the Rhyming Rabbit.

So we might have missed out on having all our friends round but somehow we managed to banish the bank holiday blues!


Thursday, 3 May 2012

What I have been up to... Made and Making

I've not really talked about it much here but there has been an awful lot going on for me over the last few months. I have alluded to it a few times but now it really is time to share.

I've sewn and crafted for as long as I can remember and it's always been my way of unwinding at the end of a busy day. To others beavering away on a new project until the early hours might not be relaxing, but for me it really is. As I posted only recently, just being surrounded by my fabric makes me smile!

An opportunity presented itself most out of the blue, as these things always seem to, and at the end of March I brought my corporate career to a close (for a while at least). With a very supportive Mr B I'm going to start my own venture, hopefully making a success out of my creative skills this time.

I've spent the last month really enjoying being what has felt like a proper mum to Niamhy, picking her up from school every day, whilst spending all the hours in-between beavering away to create my own business.

Made and Making is now ready to hit the headlines!

The word 'made' emanates from .....

'Made by me' craft workshops that I am going to run locally. There are still lots of people that would like to learn to sew or don't have much confidence with a sewing machine. There are also others like myself that are confident but love being in creative environments. Hopefully my Made by Me workshops will respond to all these needs. 

'Made by Me' classes are going to be friendly relaxed workshops for beginners to those with experience. There will be classes for those with really young children (babes in arms as I call them) so that they bring their little ones along comfortable in the knowledge that if they cry they don't need top fret.  In the school holidays there will be some classes for children too.

They are going to run in a lovely local hall with fabulous facilities and the maximum class size is going to be 8-10. Children's classes will be smaller. There is space on a lovely day to eat a packed lunch outside and I'll ensure that there is plenty of tea, biscuits and cordial to keep everyone going.

My head is full with ideas of what we can make that are useful items to have around the home or that can be wonderful gifts to share. I also want people to be confident in understanding how many resources that they will already have, meaning that this doesn't need to be expensive. I'll be encouraging people to think about the materials that they have at home in old clothes, bedding and furnishings that can be changed into something new. I think the trendy term is up cycling.

The word 'making' emanates from......

the other side of my venture which is my 'Making Home' service. Not everyone has the inclination or the time to want to learn to sew and create their own things. Making Home is all about helping these people make a house a home. I can help with styling, advising on the best options out of what could be possible, or I can sew and make up what somebody knows they want. From curtains to blinds, window seat covers to deck chair covers... even an assortment of doorstops.

Bringing these two concepts together creates the Made and Making name.

I am in the final throws of pulling together my logo's and website but if you are interested click on made and making and leave your details and we'll let you know as soon as it is all live. 

It's amazing how much there is to do behind the scenes to make this all come alive but every step is really interesting and exciting and I can't wait to really get going.