Saturday, 28 April 2012

What fun!

I love a good class! And one of the joys of having your own shop is that sometimes (workload permitting) you get to go on one!

The fabulous Gina Ferrari came to the shop on Friday to share her "Cords, Tassles and Beads" class on Friday. You basically create all the components and put them together in a necklace. This is mine - unfortunately the light wasn't very good so the picture isn't great, but it is purple with a splash of pink.

Being a smart arse, I made the treble tassel, and now I know how to make them I can see me making many many many more! The Tyvek beads wound with beaded wire were great fun to make and I am sure I can see many more uses for them, and the twisted cord is destined to turn up in bags and all sorts of places. So the whole class, as well as being huge fun, was a great source of inspiration!

Today is the first day of my holiday, and we have decided to stay at home and build a pond rather than go away. Being in the middle of a drought we hoped for some good weather. Obviously this has not happened, but undaunted we ploughed on (literally!). Perhaps the rain forecast for the rest of the week will save us having to fill it with buckets!

So after 2 hours digging, we have the beginning of a pond!
Still a bit to go but it has been a joy to get out the old floral wellies and get mucky! By the end of the week we will either have a pond, or a very muddy puddle!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Something and nothing!

Sometimes there is the urge to make something! Sometimes it is to make a 'nothing' - a thing that you make just for the joy of making and looking at - a piece of artistic ephemera. Other times I want to make 'something', something useful, something with a real purpose. Today has been one of those days!

I finished this "round the world" cushion for my friend's birthday gift last night for delivery on Monday, even sewing a zip in the back which I am particularly pleased with! The finished squares are an inch across and I really enjoyed the challenge of putting it together. 

I feel the urge to make a bigger one now with equally small pieces. But until I decide that it's time to say good bye to my sanity and start on that particular project, I decided to make something else functional. 
So I made my little netbook, which currently resides in my studio ready to use when the mood takes me, a fine new jacket! I used this fabulous Robert Kauffman fabric with a terrific co-ordinating blue lining and now my little box of tricks is the best dressed tech in town! 

 Once Paul saw my new snazzy laptop case, he wanted one for his camera. His colour choices are a little more muted than mine, but at least I managed to get him away from a black bag with a black lining!

So he's happy too, and I have posted the tutorial here if you fancy having a go!

So what shall I make next....?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Fame at last... kinda...

I am not a great one for having my picture taken - and even less happy having being filmed, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and get on with it! So when Just Hands On TV wanted to come to Bee Crafty and film an interview, I just had to grow a pair and get on with it! 

Valerie Nesbitt, me and Julie

The film is up and available on their website if you want to go and have a laugh (and don't count how many times I say "indeed")! You will need to register but it is part of the free content and there is lots more to see there besides us.

Julie has been on telly a lot (having been in Eldorado and The Office in her career before being part owner of Bee Crafty) and is used to it, but I found it completely terrifying. I just had to remind myself that I am talking about something I love - and that should be easy! Famous last words! But at least it is done, and we have had some lovely comments from people who have watched it and then dropped in to see us, so it can't be that bad!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A Winter Silhouette

A great thing about having a shop is that you can work on your own ideas and turn them into classes!

This is one of my designs for a Christmas class called A Winter Silhouette - an appliqu├ęd wall panel for the festive season.

 This is a close up of the free machined snowflakes and the free motion quilting.

It was great fun to make and I can't wait to share it - we just have to pick a date!

Friday, 6 April 2012

A Gift of Quilts

As a quilter I was very excited at the opportunity to take part in the cultural Olympiad for 2012 with a  project called “A Gift of Quilts”. This projected aimed to give a quilt to every Olympic team paying us a visit in 2012 – one for the Olympic and one for the Paralympics team. With a total of 500 quilts to make, it seemed like a huge task, but quilters are givers and the project was well over-subscribed. As a result, 500 quilters and other groups were chosen at random to take part. I was one of those lucky ones, along with brownie groups, schools, quilt groups and individuals from all over the UK. We were not told which country we would be making our gift for, as that would be selected at a ballot once all of the quilts were received.
 This is my quilt "Diving In" at Olympia in March

With our quilt we were required to send a comment as to why we wanted to take part. My quote was published in the Quilters magazine which was a huge buzz for me and a surprise as I flicked through the mag with a cuppa!

This is my comment:
“Since that day in 2005 when we were first awarded the Olympics, a lot has changed: for the world, for this country and for me personally. Sometimes it may seem that the world has gone crazy, but 2012 offers us the chance to throw aside political, social and economical differences as the pride of our nations battle it out to be the best they can be. This is the greatest show on earth. This quilt has allowed me to become part of such an occasion. With the stitches that I have worked I can become part of the history of this country, the Olympics and of the world. I can look back and say I took part. Now that is a gift to me.”

Just reading that again gives me goose bumps as I was hugely thrilled to be part of this, and to be able to share my love of quilts with somewhere I will never go and with someone I expect that I will never meet feels tremendous. I also attached a letter to the quilt so that the recipient will understand that these gifts are made and sent with love. I hoped that wherever it went, someone would appreciate it and it would be used in the spirit in which it was made. 

I was absolutely delighted to be involved with the Gift of Quilts but this was nothing to my delight when I discovered which country my quilt was going to! Through World Vision I have been sponsoring Fatoumata Boiro in Patiana in Senegal since 2005 when she was 5 years old and she is now a bright and intelligent 12 year old. My sponsorship helps pay for medical programs ensuring she has help when she is sick, and education including a recent school activity where 82 teachers and 240 children learnt about malaria and HIV. 
 Fatoumata Boiro
Personally, I find this very rewarding and I love receiving letters and drawings from her, as well as updates on what my contribution is doing for her community. I feel that I have a connection to Senegal. So imagine my surprise when the country that my quilt was awarded to turned out to be the one country in the world I had a personal relationship with! My quilt is going to the Senegal Olympic Team.

I part own a craft shop called Bee Crafty in Ellington, Hunts and my quilt had been hanging up on the wall in the shop for about 3 weeks before I sent it off to A Gift of Quilts. Now I get people coming into the shop who want to see it in person because they have seen it in the book that was published containing all 500 quilts. When I mention the story about Senegal it always raises a smile with people. It is funny how things turn out; Serendipity at work! I have had another chance to give a gift to this troubled country and I never even knew it!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Making gifts - with pleasure

It has been busy at Bee Crafty lately, but there is always time to make a few gifts so I thought I would share a couple!

This is my gorgeous nephew James proudly modelling his new bed quilt which I made him for his 8th birthday on Saturday. He was dead chuffed and I am so pleased he loved it. The joy of panels is that they grow quite quickly and look amazing without too much effort! When this one arrived in the shop I had a home for it immediately!
This one is a birthday gift for my friend Sarah. She is a little older than James, but was equally delighted! As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it would look perfect in her living room.

I have a couple more commissions between now and Christmas to be cracking on with, so there is no danger of me getting bored ;)