Friday, 27 July 2012

The crafting NTO

It's been a while since I last wrote a crafting blog entry.  I've been busy with the other love in life Basketball.

Some of you might know that I will be a NTO (National Technical Official) at the Paralympics.  I am extremely honoured and excited to be doing this.  Today is the opening ceremony of the Olympics and I am really excited for my peers who will be attending in my home town of London.

I have had the privilege to officiate at a number of tournaments over the last few years, one of the biggest being the World Wheelchair Championships 2010 in Birmingham.  I got to meet lots of great people from all over the world and I also started knitting again.

So in between my games I would be knitting, I would get a few strange looks but it kept my hands busy so my nerves were kept at bay.  Fast forward to 2012 and I have been planning what to knit over the Olympics and Paralympics.  I have decided to knit socks and a shawl as well work on my long-term sock yarn blanket project.  I have called on friends to help me choose what patterns and yarn to knit.

The socks I am knitting are called Mixalot by a fabulous designer called Rachel and the yarn is from The Knitting Goddess.  The shawl I am knitting is Meandering Vines, this pattern is the same pattern I knitted two years ago at the worlds.

The socks have been started.

I am so excited about my involvement in the Paralympics and watching the Oylmpics that I could burst.  I am fully aware sport is not everyone's cup of tea but these events should be seen as positive things.

Mandeville & me

I thought it would be fun to get a mascot for the Paralympics.  My Mandeville mascot has been on his travels and I have been tweeting the pictures.  

 His first trip was on the bus in the West Midlands.

Then he went to MAC for a spot of knitting. 

After that he went further afield when we arrived at Stoke Mandeville train Station.

We got to find out more about how and who set up Stoke Mandeville.  This is Ludwig Guttmann.

The statue wasn't very tall or was that me that isn't very tall. 

Mandeville managed to watch some of the action at the European U22 Championships. 

He even made friends.

He did want to help me officiate, but I had to say no.

After the action we went out in the sunshine and met a carbon fibre Mandeville.

I thought I would get out of the way and leave Mini me to the limelight.  Can you spot my Mandeville amongst all his mates?

After a long week of officiating Mini me relaxed and helped with some knitting and jewellery making.

Woodland Wilf wanted a race in Stafford so Mini me couldn't say no.  It was a tight finish but Mini me won against the garden gnome.

He was rather successful and will be turning these into apple sauce.

On the day of the day of the opening ceremony Mini me enjoyed a late lunch in the West Midlands.

I hope you have enjoyed the story so far.  To be continued……………………….

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Catch up

How many times do you hear "We must catch up?" and then you don't.  Quite a few I reckon, well since my last blog entry I have been kinda busy.

Near the beginning of June I officiated a tri-nations wheelchair basketball tournament. Then straight after I held my first creative networking event.  After listening to Rebecca from The Creative Careers Coach, it was so exciting to see people mingling and talking.  I can't thank Rebecca enough and everyone who came.  I will be holding another one but once my London 2012 commitments are over.

I have also been busy taking pictures of poppies as I have decided to update the website with some images.  One of my dearest friends got married and I got the chance to see some friends and old work colleagues I haven't seen in ages. 

I've also been sewing and knitting, I am now known to be knitting when I get downtime at Basketball tournaments.  So I thought I would try and get organised and made a case for my interchangeable knitting needles, I am really pleased with the final case.  I didn't follow a pattern but a knitting friend gave me some great advice and I followed it.

I have been knitting but as a lot of knitters will know I have lots of WIP's (Work In Progress) so no pictures at the moment.  I have made some new items for the website but I have not been happy with the photos so watch out for updates.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A right royal weekend

This bank holiday was well timed for me. Some time to spend surrounded by beads, my sewing machine and yarn. I am currently working on a shawl for a wedding I'm going to. I'm also promoting my creative networking event. The main mission behind this event is to share the collaborations and support I have had in the last six months and beyond. With that in mind I offered to help my friend Paisley Immy Cakes at the Space Hopper Events Jubilee vintage and Craft Fair.

This woman makes amazing cup cakes and can turn her hand to just about any type of cake, even gluten free.  I've never been to a craft fair as a stall holder so I had no idea what to expect.  Sometimes when trying to helpful you can be more of a hinderance therefore I let Paisley Immy guide me through.  I ran some chores and by the time I got back this fabulous table of cakes, homemade aprons, baking accessories and jam appeared.  We went through the cup cake fillings and the new products.

Centre stage was the most beautiful Victoria sponge, it was topped with fresh fruit.  The cake was so pretty and it seems a shame to cut into the cake and many agreed.  However, once the first slice was sold it was like bees around a honey pot there was a hive of activity excuse the puns.

The cake was a large deep filled creation and ended looking like this within 15 minutes. The time flew today and so did the cakes off the stall. The rhubarb & custard flavour sold out along with chocolate & cherry.

The stall was placed between a jewellery stall and a vintage stall.  I did buy some sterling silver pearl earrings which came with a certificate of authenticity.  I did have a walk around to see what other stall holders were selling and get ideas about whether I should do a craft fair, the jury is still out in my head but never say never.

Thank you Paisley Immy Cakes for today, keep being an amazing baker and good egg.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Look within the flower

The last few weeks have been very busy with Basketball commitments but social media has helped me keep in touch with people and what is going on in the creative/craft world.

Here in the UK we have four days to celebrate the silver jubilee of our monarch.  This for me means time to rest, craft and get advertising my networking event "Look within the flower".  I think collaborations are so important and so I want to share this through networking.  

I do feel blessed to have such opportunities in my life and with my new event I have been blessed that Rebecca from The Creative Careers Coach is going to talk about collaborations.  The blessings continue onto the venue Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham City Centre, who make amazing tea and coffee.

So if you are available on 13th June 2012 from 6pm do buy yourself a ticket and get networking, you never know who you can help and who can help you.

If you haven't visited my website please do so it will give some background to how the name of the business evolved. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

The power of social media

Many moons ago when I was first told about Facebook I never imagined the impact social media would have on me and my crafting.

I think it has a justifiable place in society but some people share too much information on themselves.  They also hide behind social media to be horrible to others.

Over two years ago I joined Twitter and I haven't looked back.  I have been very blessed.  I started making a sock yarn blanket and tweeted if anyone had any spare yarn to contribute to the insanity that is a sock yarn blanket. A lovely lady from the South East sent me some yarn, just because I asked.  I also met a lady based in Liverpool at a yarn show in Birmingham.

There has been lots of information I have gathered from Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook over the years and been able gain some valuable opportunities.
I wanted to learn more about starting a business and what it entails.  Also I wanted to keep up with what is going on in the world of crafting, Basketball and keep in touch with people.

I happened across @Bhamsbc on Twitter, they were advertising business development courses which were free.  So I made further enquiries and I was signed up for 6 weeks. The Birmingham Small Business Centre are a collective of small business owners who are inspirational. They have had good and bad times in business and are not afraid to share their knowledge and experiences.
Through this course I have met some lovely small business owners who I am keeping in contact with via social media.

I have also managed to reach people all over the world who, are interested in what I am making, saying and feeling. I can't always see why people want to follow me but I think that's due to a lack of confidence, but over 800 followers don't see that.

Monday, 7 May 2012

A colourful year - Part 2

At the beginning of last month I wrote about a colour challenge.  Below is my April project a yellow cushion cover.  I didn't use a pattern, just used my creativity and made it up.

I am really happy with the finished item and it's really comfortable.  

As it's Bank holiday Monday I have been inspired to start May's colour challenge, which is lime green.

I have decided to cover some beads with fabric.  The fabric was given to me by my mum who goes to sewing classes and when I asked for scraps this was amongst them.
Then after having a Twitter conversation with a friend I found a tutorial on how to cover beads.

I have cut my strips and managed to cover one bead so far, only nine more to go.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Friday 13th - unlucky for some

I don't think I am particularly superstitious.  Yesterday was Friday 13th April and whilst at the day job I found out historically Fridays and the number 13 were not linked.  They both seen as unlucky in their own right.

As for me, I have been blessed and lucky by the crafting situations that have taken place so far in 2012.  When talking via social media I have been able to get back in touch with an ex colleague. She is really nice and has become an avid knitter.  So when I posted some of my beaded stitch markers she loved them.

Back to Friday 13th, my ex colleague has become my first online customer.  It has also put my website worries to rest.  I don't think I have mentioned that I am building the site myself, learning html along the way.  So I would say that was lucky.

I had a good night out with some lovely people and met some new people.  A bloke who makes his own gluten free pasta was my highlight oh, and the birthday girl liked her gift.  I think I have been lucky to meet some really nice like minded who share being creative.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A Good Friday

Happy holidays everyone.

I arranged to meet up with a crafting friend and go to a little knitting shop in North London called Nest.

My friend had told me about this shop before Christmas and fell in love with it instantly.  The shop stocks lots of beautiful yarns like Malabrigo, Rico, Drops, and Natural Dye Studio.  They stock many other brands with something to suit everyone's pocket.

I didn't realise it was a knitting group day so we decided we would gatecrash or attend.  I've had my heart set on some Drops Alpaca Silk for a project I want to start and got the colour I wanted, hooray.  I also got some red bias binding and Eucalan.

Then some of the regulars started arrive and everyone was nice.  I even got some compliments about my Holden Shawlette. I have been very good and only took my socks to knit. Again people liked the yarn I used for my socks.

Sometimes you can forget there are nice people and retailers in the world but Amy and her husband are lovely, friendly people.  They also serve lovely tea and cake.  I would recommend this shop to any discerning yarn buyers to visit.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A colourful year

Three weeks ago I read another blog entitled Mellow Yellow by a really nice lady who designs beautiful sock patterns.  As I replied to Coop knit's tweet I never imagined how important colour would become this year. 

Some of the nice people who I knit with came up with the idea of "The year of colour".  Originally it was supposed to be just the craft of knitting but has now become multi crafts where each month a new handmade item will be created in that month's colour.

April's colour is yellow and some lovely yellow yarn has been purchased and cast on.  Wanting to be different I decided to make a sewn item or a piece of jewellery, then a light bulb came on in my head. I looked through my stash of yarn, beads & material and remembered the mass of yellow material I bought over ten years ago and just can't throw away.  This purse has a small amount of my yellow material to line it.

Saol Photography

I had already started piecing together some Amy Butler material squares that I had won on Ebay.

The idea was to frame the squares with yellow material and then cut another piece to then make a cushion.  Tonight I have managed to get the first half of the April yellow cushion put together.

I will blog once the cushion is finished and hopefully I will be able to share that talents of the people who spend their time with me. As I yawn and think about going to sleep I remember my sexy vesty tank top.  This was the first adult garment I ever finished knitting & it fits me.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Different Weekend

During September and May of every year for more years than I can remember I would spend my weekends officiating Basketball games.  This has led to me being selected to officiate at the Paralympics in my home town of London, I am so honoured, excited and nervous.  So when I get asked what I am doing at the weekend my answer is usually "Basketball".

Not this weekend, I was lucky enough to win two tickets to the Fashion Embroidery & Stitch, Hobbycrafts, and Sewing for Pleasure shows at the NEC courtesy of Making Magazine on Facebook.

I posted on my Facebook page if anyone wanted to come with me & the lovely PaisleyImmy came back first. After tweeting our excitement off we went to the NEC.

These shows are like a crafters sweetshop and the two of us were extremely excited big kids.  After attending a Business Development Workshop at the Birmingham Small Business Centre, I got organised and wrote a list of the stands I wanted to visit and specific items I needed. Some of my friends and creative peers will be proud to know I stuck to my lists.

I got some lovely fabric and beads and have already made a pair of earrings and a necklace.

I have made this necklace for myself and the earrings are for a friend.  I will be getting some more of these beads as I think they are pretty and each one is not the exactly the same.

The fabric is for some project bags


The Russian dolls fabric wasn't from the shows but from Fibre Flurry in Hall Green.  As the weather this weekend has been glorious I thought I would get outside to top up my vitamin D and take some photos of my show stash.

I Went to the Peace Gardens

I hopefully took some good pictures as a fantastic photographer told me lighting is so important.  The Peace Gardens are a little haven in the middle of Birmingham and have given me some lovely backdrops to capture my creativity.