We will now be moving the studio's website, which has been here on the typepad platform for quite a few years and the reality is that we have outgrown our little typepad platform! So from now on - you can find us at:
The Great British Sewing Bee has caused a bit of a nostalgic revival over here in the UK. Most of the contestants reflect on the fact that they had someone in their life who introduced them to sewing and unknowingly tapped into a creative outlet that in some folks, didn't come to light until much later in life. In most cases, the inspiration is either their Mom or their Grandmother. In my case it is all three as they were all great craftswoman in their own rights.
Today I want to wish my Mom, who is having a milestone birthday today, all the love and admiration a blog post can convey. She has always sewn, continues to be a prolific painter who wins awards but refuses to sell any of the paintings (she says it would be like selling her children), is still a fantastically gifted gardener (when I called a local flower shop to buy flowers for my Mom, the lady that took the order recognised my Moms name and said "your Mom used to sell flowers to our store" - and then I remembered she had her own flower business for about ten years) and seems to know that being curious and open to new experiences is what keeps you young.
She has been and continues to be my biggest inspiration.
And the spookiest thing is that in this photo of my Mom, taken when we were building our log cabin in the woods behind our house, it is hard to figure out if it is a photo of me or my Mom.
For those of you that may have had your head under a (sewing) cover, you could not have missed the hype about the latest competitive reality show The Great British Sewing Bee. Each week people and their sewing skills are pitted against each other to try and find the the sewer who ticks all the boxes to achieve Queen Sewing Bee status.
I think it is great that a show like this has come to our televisions. In the States, sewing and crafting shows can be found across main stream television as well as the Internet, much like cooking shows are here now in the UK. When I first moved here 20 years ago, cooking had a few well known names (Delia and Mary) who had been on the scene for ages and no real fresh faces. Then came the River Cafe series and book and that cheeky little chef called Jamie Oliver. Fast forward to today and cooking has become an industry with in itself that is always creating new and exciting (and sometimes questionable!) tastes and techniques to push the culinary boundaries.
So let's see how far The Great British Sewing Bee will go towards being the first step into a real underbelly of sewing world divas and fabric goddesses!
For our part, we continue to grow our sewing and creative listing of workshops by trying to see what the market is interested in. We have our latest listing here and am quite sure that GBSB will make sure that add some new things to this as well!
Hello 2013 and we have started out the year on a creative bang! We listened to what you asked for and have added two new workshops Freehand Machine Embroidery and Overlockers for Beginners - and we have made sure that both have daytime and evening workshops to make it as accessbile as possible for those that want to come.
And don't forget, we have our Make and Do Provisions online shop where we carry a small but impressive line of quirky fabric, bag making essentials and haberdashery.
There are also a few more workshops bubbling in the background that we hope to be able to announce in the next month or so.
And if you have any specific requests - private workshops, childrens workshops - please get in contact as we happily accomodate any requests where possible.
Because the first one was so successful, we have added an additional date
It combines the talents of Sue Lacey, our resident master of all things paper, and a great new venue, Dingle Farm Studio Art, Gifts and Tea Room. If you haven't been there, it is worth a visit as it is very sweet and Louise makes a mean cake and some great jam and chutneys.
The success of the first workshop, which showed people how to make paper pom poms that can suit any occasion, as well as paper pin wheel decorations and old school paper Christmas ornaments suitable for tree or window, will be recreated all over again, in the lovely environment of Dingle Farm. And true to our word, we show you how to do it without having to buy new tools as well as tapping into easy to find paper sources.
Half of the spaces have gone already so if you would like to make sure you get a seat on the night, register via the link below:
I returned from my month away to find the last of my lovely hydrangeas slowly fading from purple to pink with the last few days of summer start to slip by. I do find it hard to believe that while I was away, mother nature still keeps to her timely passage of the seasons!
Had a lovely month away - no Facebooking, no Tweeting and no blogging. The world didn't stop and I took a much needed break from having to be in work mode....so important to take a break. But I have returned with so many new things to do - work on the new website including a new on-line store session, two new workshops need to be fleshed out and even take some time to do some sewing for myself - that I am reenergised and ready to go.
We have so much going on this autumn - it really does make me realise how we have grown over the last few years (while I wasn't even looking). A few things to look for (and in no order of when they will be done as this means I am held accountable to deadlines!):
- a new website where we will be selling items that people use in the Studio at our workshops - from acrylic rulers, to rotary cutters to the lovely quirky fabric we have on offer - you can buy it on line or in the Studio! We hope to eventually expand it out to include items from all our workshops - feltmaking, jewellery making etc - so that we can help those that want to craft do so in the knowledge that what we sell is what we use and recommend.
- we are putting the final touches to a few new workshops - Creating a Clutch Purse as well as Simple Machine Applique. We should have final write up and dates in the next week or so. And there is also rumblings for even more workshops but possibly not until Spring - Sewing with Knits! I do tend to give information on this via the Newsletter (you can click the Register for our Newsletter link on the upper left) or via our Facebook page and Twitter feed. It can be a bit of a logistical nightmare keeping all of these up to date so I apologise if I tend to use certain formats (Facebook etc) more than I do blogging.
- and in the distant future as I cannot bring myself to say the C word - we are having a Snowflake Craft Fest on the evening of 14th and 15th November at Dingle Farm, a lovely new tea room and studio art gallery. We plan to have even more quirkier artisans for these two nights and am really looking forward to it.
I thought I would post a bit of feedback from this weekend's All You Need to Know to Sew and what I am going to to do try and get folks to start sewing before summer!
"I attended the Saturday All You Need to Know to Sew workshop with no basic knowledge what so ever of how to use a sewing machine I was very nervous about attending and was concerned that I would find it very difficult to grasp. I needed not to be worry Maeri made the whole experience very relaxed and enjoyable and I loved every minute of it"
I can completely understand the part about being very nervous - after all, you are putting yourself in a position to have to do something new....a bit like my early morning session on crocheting this morning (more on that later!)...but in order to make it more of an incentive to come to the Studio before we break for the summer, we have a special offer whereby if you get your sewing machine serviced before 20 July - we will give you £5 off our All You Need to Know to Sew workshop to be used anytime.
If you are interested, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange for your machine to get dropped off and you can pick up your £5 voucher at the same time!
I get to spend time with creative people virtually every day and one of our most repeated conversations is about craft fairs - what makes a good one, do you really gain value from them, how much work they involve to get your stall filled with stock etc., - the answers to these questions vary from day to day (and experience to experience!).
My experiences on craft fairs span two continents - last summer when I was back in Vermont, I stumbled on them in almost every village on any given weekend. They were relaxed, really diverse in terms of what was being sold (selling locally made food as well as a woman selling her alpaca wool - she, as it turns out. also had camels too....top that!) and normally, had a socially responsible bend to it. So I decided to try and use this experience to create the Sunflower Craft Fest - it is small, a bit quirky in what will be available, you get a glass of fizz to help you relax on the night and 10% of all ticket sales will be split between Cancer Research as well as the Alzheimers Society.
Tickets are £5 each and can be purchased really easily on-line
I really should have posted this a few weeks ago.....but for whatever reason, things just got too busy.
It is about my movie debut on the BBC!
I was asked to attend the launch for the Webwise website (which the film was part of) at the new BBC Media City in Manchester. I didn't really have time to think too much about it as the invitation came at a really busy point in my week, but when we got to the brand-new just out of the box premises, I realised that it was a proper launch.
With wine and food.
And the head of BBC North.
And all the people involved with the creation of it.
As my friend (who came along as my plus one) Jane pointed out, maybe we should have put on more than a pair of jeans. But I really am a "pair of jeans "girl and so is Jane. However, we did think to take a camera so Jane took some photos for me to share.
The weather on the night was gorgeous - one of those warm springsummeriscoming days.
Someone told me that the inside of the building looks alot like a hotel...and it does!
The circles that you see are actually meeting area's for two - they appear to have really utilised the "hot desking" mentality and many of the sections are set up for imptomptu meetings.
The one thing that also took me a bit by surprise is that they created an installment to compliment the series - here I am by my little part of it (I look like I am holding a burp in... I assure you I was not!).
Okay, for the actual video, click on the photo below, it opens up a webpage and press number 11.