Wednesday 16 November 2011

Reetsweet Christmas Craft Fair - Sunday 27 November 2011

Hello there!

Just wanted to quickly mention that I will have a stall at the very first Sheffield Reetsweet craft fair in less than two weeks!  It's at the fabulous Millennium Gallery on Sunday 27 November, opening times are from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and entry is FREE! 

Reetsweet is run by Becki Drury from Leeds, who has run many very successful fairs in Leeds.  I'm so glad that someone has stepped in where the excellent Craft Candy fairs left off - I do really enjoy the Christmas craft fair (this will be my third).  I'm expecting to see lots of old Craft Candy friends there... I can't wait! :D

Reetsweet fairs are full of bright, quirky and fun products - and of course, everything is genuinely handmade... click here to take a look at some of the goodies at the recent Leeds Uni Reetsweet fair! Leeds Uni goodies

So if you're in Sheffield on that day, please drop by and say hi!

  • Millennium Gallery is just five minutes walk from the train station and the bus station
  • For a map of Millennium Gallery and streetview from the Surrey Street entrance via the Winter Gardens, click here: how to get there
  • There is another entrance to the Millennium Gallery on Arundel Gate.

Best wishes
Joey x

Sunday 30 October 2011

Charlotte Liddle in Sheffield

Close-up of my strawberry applique, one of the projects from Charlotte Liddle's new book!

Hello there!

Here's another of my quarterly blog posts! Hahaha! Oops! Maybe next year I'll be a better blogger... I finished the walking challenge (see my last post) a couple of weeks ago, so I don't really have any excuses for not posting (apart from weird times at work, but that's another story)...
Our walking team finished in 10th place out of 177 teams (individually I came 4th out of 885 people, with 2,695,838 steps, or about 1172 miles), which I'm really pleased about!

I've never done so much walking in my life! I'm sure I'm a couple of inches shorter now...
Click here to see the Walking Challenge League Table

Walking off into the sunset...

So what's the thing that was so amazing that I just had to write a post about it?  Well, our local John Lewis store in Sheffield hosted a book signing and free workshop with craft book writer Charlotte Liddle. Charlotte has now written three craft books: “Stitch and Sparkle: 15 Easy Projects to Stick and Sew”;Stitch Divas: New Ways to Get Creative with Yarns and Threads” (written with Rachel Henderson) and her latest book, “Cute and Easy Quilting and Stitching” which was published this spring. I found out about Charlotte's event when visiting the ladies' for a wee last Saturday, as an advert for it was on the back of the loo door - of all places! Anyway, I asked my mother-in-law Chris along, and we both enjoyed a fantastic couple of hours making one of the projects from Charlotte's new book.
Charlotte Liddle today, sitting behind copies of her new book, with some of her creations from it.

It was really interesting to be able to chat with Charlotte whilst we were stitching away, and it gave me the chance to get to know her a little. Charlotte is from Darlington, and graduated from her Textile Crafts course at the University of Huddersfield in 2005, and currently teaches textile crafts to adults and older teenagers, as well as holding workshops and writing craft books.  After leaving Uni, Charlotte got a job in the office at the Coats Crafts headquarters in Darlington. She was in the right place, because after showing them her portfolio, she got her first book deal! The result, called Stitch and Sparkle”, really is a sparkling treasure-trove full of ideas to combine printed fabrics, lace, ribbon, beads, buttons and all things twinkly to create your own unique accessories, or bling-up your tired but still serviceable old stuff.  In my opinion, it really stands out from a lot of other craft books because every page is buzzing with bright treasures - there's nothing old-fashioned or tired here.

Charlotte's beautiful embellished shoes - fit for a princess!

Gorgeous combination of applique, crochet and beading by Charlotte Liddle.
Charlotte's latest book is also full of projects – 35 no less. She told us that it took her a mere 10 weeks to create. I say “create” rather than write because I know from experience that the written instructions are just a tiny part of a project. They're important, but they just don't give you as massive a headache as the times when you get halfway through making a thing and realise that the fabric's all wrong/your design's all wrong/you've messed up big time/your sewing machine decides that it's had enough and goes on strike/you have a nervous breakdown and turn to jelly... So I'm mightily impressed that Charlotte designed, made and wrote the instructions for 35 projects in only 10 weeks... and stayed sane!  Charlotte had put up a display of some of her creations from the book, and it was great to see them up close to appreciate the details.

The beauty of this book is that it can be enjoyed not only by people who are completely new to sewing but also folks with experience in one technique but need a bit of inspiration to try something a little different... for example, I'd really like to have a go at cathedral window quilting – well, there's a project for that! I have already asked Santa for the book.

Charlotte's creations from her new book.

The project from the book which Charlotte had prepared for us was the appliquéed jam jar covers, using good old Bondaweb (aah, lovely Bondaweb, what would I do without you??) to bond the applique pieces to a background fabric.  It was then very relaxing and easy to embroider and embellish our cute little strawberries.  Joy!

The group's conversation quickly arrived at the subject of haberdashery and fabric shops, and we came to the conclusion that there aren't enough of them.  However, it turns out that a few of us have made the pilgrimage to Duttons for Buttons in York, and we all agreed that it's THE mecca for button lovers!

It's a tiny shop, with about four floors I think, but the ground floor is best – if you're like me, then you'll be gazing in awe at the wall of buttons for quite a while! I went to York for my birthday this year; I'd never heard of Duttons, so when I saw it I just had to go in. I really wish it was in Sheffield so I could have a longer browse. I only bought a few buttons, but they were the tiniest shank buttons I've ever seen! I could easily have come away with enough buttons to make the best Pearly Kings & Queens very jealous.

I could have spent a day chatting with Charlotte (although she may have got sick of me very quickly!) as she is such an open, down-to-earth and really friendly person, with a lot of talent and skill. I'm truly grateful for a wonderful morning of crafting and talking about crafting – just what I needed right now!

Thanks Charlotte, and thanks to you too, for reading!

Best wishes
Joey x

Saturday 16 July 2011

The Very Very Long Walk

Chesterfield Parish Church, with its wonky spire

Hello there!

After yet another long break from this blog, I'm back again! I do have a couple of excuses though... we have bought the house which we've been renting for 14 years, I now know what people mean by house-buying being stressful... But thank goodness that it's all sorted!

The other thing which has been keeping me busy, is that I'm taking part in a summer-long walking event, called the DWP Walking Challenge, for the charity The Civil Service Benevolent Fund (see the end of this post for more info about the CSBF).

So far, I've walked over a third of a million steps, which I'm really pleased with, but I'd really love to walk at least a million steps, maybe more!

So, as you can imagine, I've been walking a lot more than usual for the last couple of weeks! Mathew has been too, and he's being a brilliant support with this, basically encouraging me to go for more and bigger walks, and sorting out the routes. Which is good, as my sense of direction is almost non-existent. I'm the sort of person who comes out of a shop and has to think about which way to turn! I'm not exaggerating.

a map of the very, very long walk

This is why, last Friday evening as me and Mathew were doing our evening walk through nearby Norfolk Heritage Park, we decided to do a big walk the next day (i.e. a week ago today)... and I mean a BIG WALK – from our house in Sheffield, not far from the city centre, to Chesterfield, around 15 miles away!  After we did the walk, Mathew mapped it out on, but there's a screen capture above so you can see.

We started out around 6:25am, which was plenty early for us. It was light, but rather gloomy. Umbrella was packed in case of rain.  This picture below was taken at the top of Granville Road, looking towards Sheffield city centre.

Walked past the big cemetery just up the road from us. These stone carvings are relatively new. I think they're of apples, because there's lots of apples trees in City Road cemetery.

Here's a brief history of City Road cemetery: City Road cemetery history on Sheffield City Council website

More new stone carvings just off City Road:

I've never seen Manor library (I don't even think that I knew there was one!) but I think they're done a lovely job of making it look nice, don't you think so? Oh, and another stone carving... bit of a trend here!

We thought these two signs were funny, outside a primary school. Very passive-aggressive!  They could have written the signs in a much nicer way.

We passed this metal sculpture in Herdings Park at around 7:35am - been walking for only an hour.

This sculpture is in the same style as the deer and little robot person in Norfolk Heritage Park.

We popped into Graves Park to see if the toilets were open. They weren't. Hold on for a bit longer...  But the park was really peaceful, just a few dog-walkers around.

There's some great playground stuff in there too! The sun was actually starting to make an appearance too.
Graves Park is fab, not only because of the gigantic park itself but they also have animals!  We only saw a few on this morning though, some cows and goats:

Good way to clean out your nose! :-)

Don't the goats look contented?
We arrived at Jordanthorpe and saw this bizarre outdoor gym equipment! I would have had a little go but I was a little tired by this time and was a bit self-conscious too!
Then at around 8:45, we crossed the border into Derbyshire! Yay! The village of Coal Aston was very nice.
The countryside around here is really pretty, look at how far you can see!
Odd sign at Dronfield... it took us ages to work out what it meant.  What was the matter with writing "it's 30 for a reason"?

road rage

WE'VE ARRIVED!! Well, not quite.  It actually took us another hour and a half to reach the town centre... my feet were really killing me by now, but Mathew was fine!

Look, we can now see Chesterfield's parish church's famous crooked spire. This was 40 mins after passing the "Chesterfield" sign above.  But we still weren't that close... it took us another hour to reach our destination!

Bright and jolly mural on the side of a school.

We eventually reached Chesterfield town centre at about 11:30am.  To say that my feet and legs were tired is an understatement.  I'm quite very extremely overweight a bit of a porky pig, and I think it's that which makes it tougher for me (I know, I know, it's my own fault...) but it's still not pleasant to have incredibly sore, aching feet and legs! If you are a slim, healthy person then it probably wouldn't be so much of a problem for you. Mathew wanted to have a look around the town's charity shops, but my priority was a nice sit-down!!  We eventually found a lovely park, Queen's Park, which boasted a duck/boating pond, a miniature train and a cricket match! So I settled down, put on a bit of Ravi Shankar on my MP3 player and lazed around for a few hours!

Puffin' Billy

Watching cricket

Mural on the underside of the bridge which links the park to the town centre

One of Chesterfield's oldest buildings, which dates back  to the 17th century, is now a coffee house.

interesting building; I like the colour & ornate windows

another interesting building... I love the tiles above the central doorway!
After a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and numerous bags of crisps, then an hour or so of watching the cricket, we staggered our painful way home.  Well, Mathew seemed pretty ok, but I really struggled.  At least it was a beautiful evening... look at these views!

It's tea-time!

More cricket! This time, in Graves Park (the toilets still weren't open...)

The picture you see above was the last one I took of the day. I was too tired to bother with my camera.  By this time, my legs and feet were in absolute agony. Yes, I am a bit of a drama queen, but THEY REALLY HURT! I am not used to a lot of physical exercise.  We got back at about 8:15 p.m., mainly because I was shuffling along at a snail's pace.

That, we vowed never to go on such a long walk in one day.  But this week, Mathew's been suggesting all sorts of crazy long walks! Watch this space...

And please sponsor me, at my Just Giving page!

Best wishes
Joey xx

The Civil Service Benevolent Fund
The CSBF helps UK civil servants, ex-civil servants, and people connected to them, and also the employees and their families of many associated organisations which used to be part of the UK civil service, in times of desperate need. It’s the CSBF's 125th anniversary year, and to celebrate, they're aiming to raise £125,000 during 2011 to support their help and advisory activities. The sorts of things the CSBF does is help people during bereavement, long-term and terminal illness, relationship breakdown, financial crisis etc. If you want to know more about the work of the CSBF, please take a look at last year's Impact Report:

Sunday 29 May 2011

Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts - sew a seating system freebie

I love the stripy green fabric!

Hello there!

If you read my last post, you'll know that I've just bought a set of partwork craft magazines that I had as a child, so I've been tripping down memory lane with them! I've also set up a Flickr group, Golden Hands Crafts - For Everyone, so if any of you have your own copies of Golden Hands or Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts, you can share them with the rest of us!

They certainly are weird and wonderful... last night I was reading about marbling paper with seaweed, and I thought, "this is something I could do", until I read that I would need a couple of pints of something called 'oxgall' that I could get from my local slaughterhouse!! I don't even WANT to know where my nearest slaughterhouse is (I'm vegetarian), let alone actually go there! So I guess I won't be using that technique...

Get a fire guard on that open fire! Health and safety was "stuff and nonsense" in the 1970s...

This is much nicer. This impressive project would really give your sewing maching a good workout... sew your own 'seating system'! In my imagination, I am tempted to try this, but I know it'll never happen. I really like the look of it, they've styled the photos so well, but what would they be like in reality? Just beanbags with a bolster? Maybe if you had some quite large blocks of reasonably solid foam, they could work. Anyone want to have a go? I've embedded the full project as a PDF below.  If I ever have a go at this I'll let you know how it turns out...

GHC Seating System Project

Best wishes

Joey xx

Friday 27 May 2011

Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts - embroidery designs freebie

Where it all began...

This year is flying past so quickly, I can't believe how little I've blogged! And I don't even have a particularly good excuse for not doing so either. What HAVE I been doing? I must have just been existing really...

Well, I want to put that straight RIGHT NOW! So I'm going to share with you all something from my childhood...

They like their embroidered tops, don't they?
 One of my elder sisters used to collect a part-work magazine called "The Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts", published by Marshall Cavendish, in 1975. I was only two years old at the time, but my sister was about 15. I don't think she collected the whole set of 98 issues, but it was near enough. The magazines lived in a cardboard box, and when she had done with them, I "appropriated" them for myself.

Embroidered dress
I LOVED those magazines! They were full of such wonders as macrame, pottery, enamelling, basketry, needlepoint, crochet, making stuff with old tin cans, paint effects like stencilling, embroidery, woodwork, beadwork, weaving, glasswork... the list just goes on and on... you name it, most crafts were probably covered. Although I only attempted a couple of projects (most of it was outside of my capability and level of confidence at the time), I read and re-read these magazines from cover to cover, many many times. And pored over the pictures for literally hours and hours.

They don't make dresses like that anymore... cute embroidery though!

Oh! The pictures! To me, they are the very essence of the 70s... a mixture of really good design, and terrible fashion sense! Or was it really good fashion sense?

Anyway, she claimed them back from me after I'd left home, so I hadn't seen them for about 20 years, until now! I think I saw someone's pictures of them on Flickr or on a blog which piqued my interest again, but I hadn't forgotten them. Then when I found a set of a few on eBay, from a UK seller, I just had to bid for them! And they arrived yesterday! Hurrah!

Don't look so fed-up love... the embroidery is pretty, but the puffy sleeves... well, they're something else! :D
So looking at them now, they just bring back so many happy memories. To me, they are far more than the sum of their parts. Unfortunately I only have the first 16 (it was sold as issues 1 - 17, but issue three is missing...booo!), but I hope to obtain them ALL at some point... 
Do you think her hair is meant to look like those ice-cream embroideries? Aw bless...

To start us off then, I'm going to share with you this collection of embroidery designs. Aren't they cute? These pictures and the embroidery designs are all from part 10.  Just click on the picture below to get the full-size image.

The embroidery designs - click to bring up the full-size version
I'm going to post other snippets from the magazines too, because I think they deserve to be aired after all these years in hiding! So watch this space if your appetite for some "retro crafting" has been whetted!
Best wishes
Joey xx


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