Hello and sorry once again for a very overdue blog post! I have a very good excuse this time. My husband, Jasper the dog and I have all relocated from Halesowen (near Birmingham) to the very lovely Chorlton-Cum-Hardy in Manchester. My husband got a new job up here and as I grew up not far from here I was very happy to be coming back to my roots!
I had lived in the Midlands for almost 12 years, I met my husband there and we bought a house and started to settle. In 2010 I was made redundent when the childrenswear company that I designed for went into liquidation and I set up my freelance design business and My Craftea Day. I was travelling up and down to London a lot with the freelance work. Then my husband got a new job with IBM as a consultant and he had to be posted wherever there were current projects. These mainly ended up being in London so we both spent the last 2 years travelling up and down to London, staying there during the week and coming back to the Midlands some weekends. Its been a fantastic couple of years where we have had the opportunity to do some amazing things in London and have been able to spend more time with the friends we have down there but for our own (and the dogs!) sanity we needed to be a bit more settled again! We have a lot of great friends still in the Midlands and we still own our house there so we are still connected and as I have been marketing My Craftea Day in that area since I set it up I will still hopefully be popping down every now and then!
So now to our current life! We decided on Chorlton as we have friends here and have always liked the area when we have visited them. It has a really cool and buzzy little street of shops, cafes and bars and arty/crafty gallerys. It's also really close to Manchester city centre but also handy for the motorway for when I need to be off up and down the country with the workshops. So that's the tourist information bit over! We are renting here and have been lucky enough to find something a little bigger than our own house that was within our budget, but it is not without it's compromises! I have never done so much cleaning in my life since we moved into this house! I won't go into detail but lets just say I have discovered that our window frames are in fact white not mucky grey/black!! We are also doing a bit of DIY here it's amazing how a lick of off white paint can transform a room! The part of the house I am most overly excited about is MY room!! My craft room/studio space! It's double the size of the one I had in our last house and has loads of storage -all be it Ikea dark mahogany and mirrored but I can work around that! I set to work trying to prettify it almost as soon as we moved in and it is definitely getting there. It's quite hard in rented houses to do exactly what you want, there is already some of the landlords furniture in here that doesn't neccessarily fit with ours and you have to get permission to even put picture hooks up so I have definitely had a challenge with this room! I still have quite a bit to do but I will let you have a sneaky peak at the room so far!
The desk and shelving unit that came with the house -totally bombarded with my button jars and paraphernalia!
My 'island' style desks, book shelves and filing cabinet!
How do you make a fan light that doesn't work look pretty? With paper pom poms and origami butterflys!!
Fairy lights for extra sparkle when it goes dark!
Making the most of the high ceilings and having all my bits and bobs on display!
nice big window sills to put more bits and bobs on!
washi tape is useful for sticking up any inspirational images and illustrations!
lots of wire draws for organising all the fabrics I have!
The dog escaping from the madness!
So that's it so far! I haven't put the photos of the other half of the room up yet. It's full of plastic boxes at the moment, which will be hopefully moved somewhere else, to make room for a nice soft seating area for when I fancy a break and a browse through a craft mag or book for some inspiration!
I will keep you posted on the transformation of the house and our new life in Chorlton!
Hello and sorry for the well overdue blog post -it's all a bit crazy here -but not complaining! I wanted to share with you the lovely day I had on Saturday! It's a long one so get a cup of tea and enjoy!
I was very pleased to be asked to host a workshop for a hen do for lovely bride to be Heather. Secretly and meticulously organised by her sister Liz over the last 11 months, after the family had seen me doing craft demonstrations at the Vintage Chic Wedding Fair in Birmingham last April, I think the last thing on their mind during the planning was that they would have to contend with snowy conditions in MARCH! After contacting Liz on Friday to gauge whether there were any changes of plans due to the weather we made executive decisions that the show must go on and we would be fine. So I added wellies, a spade, a duvet and lots of extra clothing layers and coats to my list of things I needed to take and prayed that the sunshine would come out and melt it all away on Saturday!
My prayers weren't answered and I woke up on Saturday to more fallen snow, no car (as my husband had got snowed in with it in Lancashire) but the most determined feeling that nothing was going to stop me!! I had forseen that my husband and car might not return so luckily I had booked a hire car on Friday just in case which I picked up Saturday and only got stuck in snow once on the way back from the hire company! With the car packed up I set off to Althorp in Northampton. The motorways were clear so I felt completely at ease and had plenty of time to get to my destination. With my usual sat nav being in the car up North I borrowed my step dads sat nav. About half an hour into my journey the sat nav decided it was bored of the motorway and asked me to leave, all my gut instincts were saying 'stay on the motorway, stay on the motorway' but of course I didn't! At first I was on A roads so they were fine but eventually I ended up on country lanes which of course weren't quite so clear. At this point I pulled over to see what settings my sat nav were on-they had been set to 'most optimal mileage' or 'skin flint' settings as I like to call it and anyone who knows my step dad will laugh at this! So after a few swear words I set it to fastest route and continued on my way. Of course by this point the fastest route was to still continue along country lanes so I just thought it best to just carry on! Eventually I saw signs for northampton and realised I was only a few miles away from my destination - I had always known that at some point I would need to be on country lanes as the venue was in a country village so I thought to myself everyone else who is coming to the hen party will have to drive along here so you can do it! Luckily the roads weren't as bad as I was expecting and I made it!!
The journey was totally worth it. 'The Coaching Inn' at Althorp http://www.althorp-coaching-inn.co.uk/ is a lovely cosey 16th century pub/restaurant set in a picturesque village and had a very warm welcoming! I was shown to the barn at the back of the pub that had been hired for the hen do. When I walked in I was beyond excited as it was exactly the type of venue that I would want to hold a craft workshop in and perfect for the 'bride to be' who loves vintage, it had original features, a piano in the corner, lovely flowers on the tables, horse sadles & bridles hanging on the walls and had been decorated with gorgeous doily bunting and streamers- perfect! I started to unpack all my craft paraphernalia and the vintage china teacups and cake stands and all fears of snow and driving disappeared and I was able to focus on the aim of the day!
The hens all started to arrive about half an hour after and were starting the day as they meant to go on -with a large glass of wine! At 2.30pm the 'bride to be' arrived with her blind fold on with absolutely no idea where she was or what the plans were for the day! She looked so shocked when the blind fold was taken off! After a couple of minutes to let it sink in Liz started to dress her up in her (very tasteful and vintage looking) 'bride to be' sash and veil and explained to her what the plans were! I saw Heather give her sister a big hug and kiss with a huge smile on her face and I knew then that she was pleased and that Liz had chosen well-it's always a huge responsibility to organise a hen do so I'm sure Liz felt very relieved at this point!
Once the hens had all had a chance to have a chat and say hello to Heather it was time to get down to business before too much wine was consumed!!
As there were 23 hens altogether Liz had chosen our fabric and ribbon corsages workshop as this one doesn't need sewing machines it was ideal for such a large group. I showed the hens two techniques of how to make corsages and explained how they could be finished either with a brooch/hairclip back or attaching to head bands. A few of the hens had little girls that they wanted to make the corsages for so the headbands were ideal for this. One lady suggested that they could be attached to ribbons and tied around the wrist- this is the thing I love about doing the workshops when other people are inspired and give me ideas that I hadn't thought of! I could hear a few hens saying that they wouldn't be any good and that they couldn't even thread a needle-but every single one of them made at least one if not three or four by the end of the 3 hour workshop so it just goes to show that everyone can learn new skills!
I got the chance to go around and chat to the hens as they were creating their corsages and helped anyone out that were struggling or suggested any extra details they could add. They were all coping brilliantly and it was so nice to see all the different corsages that we being made! I wish I had taken some close up pictures now of them all! I even had to perform an emergency operation on the 'bride to be' sash! One of the eyelets broke so I fixed it with the glue gun-which I feel is one of the most brilliant inventions ever!
The 3 hours flew by so quickly, the atmosphere in the barn was great & really relaxed, fab music to craft & sing along to, lots of laughter, chat and most importantly-cake! Heather and Liz told me that they were really enjoying it and that it was perfect which made me feel very happy and proud that I had helped to make someones day so special. The day went exactly how I wanted it to go and it was great to meet lovely new people!
I did take some photos of the day which I've added in below-I hope you will agree that its a really special and unique way to celebrate a hen do or birthday party where all ages can be involved! Thankyou Heather and your hens for being such brilliant 'crafteas' and for such a fun and memorable day! x
Yarn bombing-have you heard of it?! It's is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. (thanks Wikipedia!) I've seen photos of it before and it always makes me smile but I have never seen any in person-until today!! I always thought it was just done to fences, trees or benches but I googled it after seeing some today and I've now seen images of fully yarn bombed buses, cars, telephone boxes and bikes! There is even a facebook page dedicated to it http://www.facebook.com/yarnbombing !! Today I was out walking our dog with my husband and some friends in the Wyre Forest and we decided to pop into Bewdley for a pub lunch by the river. Afterwards we went for another little walk and ended up in a park behind the museum and spotted a tree covered in lovely colourful yarn!! It had a little notice on it saying 'please feel free to hug this yarn bombed tree'! So we did! It was lovely because it felt all cosey but solid -it was a good hug!
what a beautiful tree!
My hat blends in with it!!
Maybe one day my crochet skills will be good enough to give this a go!
I was a busy bee yesterday afternoon after my last blog. I started to develop some little felt characters for the new childrens sewing workshops we're planning to launch this year that I mentioned in yesterdays blog. There are some modifications and construction techniques that need developing further but I thought I would give you a sneaky peak of the owl and dog I've worked on so far!
I like her spotty ears and flower!
So I will keep going and keep you posted!